The creators of the AstraZeneca jab spoke on ABC RN breakfast earlier this morning.
They were understandably questioned about their COVID-19 vaccine, which has been withdrawn in countries like Denmark and has yet to receive a green light from the US Food and Drug Administration. As in the UK, the vaccine AstraZeneca is approved for use in Australia, but is limited to older age groups.
Sarah Gilbert, leader of the Oxford project for the AstraZeneca vaccine, said the rare side effect of blood clotting was not detected until millions of people used the jab because “it is such a rare occurrence” that it never happened in trials. of vaccines (in which tens of thousands were immunized).
“So of course we are very concerned about monitoring and better understanding what is happening,” he said.
“There is nothing we can do without risk and it is also risky on many occasions to do nothing. So we have to weigh the risks and the benefits.
“The risk [of blood clotting] It is extremely small and the risks of COVID far outweigh the risk of taking the vaccine. So it is a complicated situation which is something that we hope will be clearly communicated to the populations. But when there is a lot of virus transmission, the risk-benefit analysis is clearly in favor of receiving the vaccine ”.
Professor Gilbert’s colleague, Dr Catherine Green, director of the clinical biofabrication facilities at the University of Oxford, also referred to Australia’s change in its AstraZeneca guidelines. The vaccine was originally recommended for those over 50, but is now recommended for those over 60 (although those under 60 who received their first injection are encouraged to receive their second).
“Policy makers in Australia will have to make their own recommendations based on the level of risk from the virus,” said Dr Green.
“But with the new variants that we have, they are spreading very quickly. [and] it is very difficult to contain them. And I think that [advice] it must be continually reviewed because we know that this vaccine is effective against the Delta variant, which is the one that is now causing problems … worldwide. ”