AstraZeneca on Wednesday released new data on its COVID-19 vaccine — which the company says shows a 76 percent effectiveness rate in preventing symptomatic cases of the coronavirus.
The data release is the latest salvo in a back-and-forth with US regulators, who accused the London-based pharmaceutical company of “cherry picking” data to make it seem like the shot was more effective.
On Monday, AstraZeneca claimed a 79 percent effectiveness rate, but the next day an independent panel overseeing the study wrote a letter to U.S. health officials saying the company had omitted some symptomatic COVID-19 cases that had occurred — a move that they said has the potential to erode public trust in the vaccine.
Following public criticism, AstraZeneca said the data was based on a “pre-specified interim analysis,” and agreed to release an updated report.
“This is really what you call an unforced error because the fact is this is very likely a very good vaccine,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said on “Good Morning America” Tuesday. “This kind of thing does … really cast some doubt about the vaccines and maybe contribute to the hesitancy. It was not necessary.”
The information released Wednesday, meanwhile, “confirms that our COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective in adults, including those aged 65 years and over,” the company’s research chief Mene Pangalos said.
AstaZeneca was hoping to regain confidence after a tough rollout in Europe — which left the company with inconsistent data — as well as a scare over several high-profile cases of patients developing blood clots after receiving the jab.
AstaZeneca also said it intends to seek FDA emergency use authorization for the vaccine within a few weeks.
With Post wires