The drugmaker said its COVID-19 vaccine produces a similar immune response in both old and young adults, and triggers lower adverse responses among the elderly during clinical trials.
“It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher,” an AstraZeneca spokesman said on Oct. 26.
“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” the spokesman added, referring to the technical name of the vaccine.
If the vaccine proves effective against the COVID-19 virus, Canadians will have access to it as announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September.
“We’ve reached an agreement with AstraZeneca for the vaccine they are developing with the University of Oxford. This agreement secures up to 20 million doses for Canadians, should the vaccine trials be successful,” Trudeau said on Sept. 25.
According to the sheet, participants experienced some “unexplained neurological symptoms including changed sensation or limb weakness.”
However, after independent safety reviews, it was concluded that “these diseases were either considered unlikely to be associated with the vaccine or there was insufficient evidence to say for certain that the illnesses were or were not related to the vaccine.”
In addition, the independent reviewers, after considering the information for each case, recommended that vaccinations should continue, while “close monitoring of the affected individuals and other participants will be continued.”
“With any new medicine or vaccine there is always a possibility of an unexpected side effect,” the sheet read.
On Sept. 6, clinical trials of AZD1222 were voluntarily paused globally as part of a standard review process to allow independent reviewers to examine the safety data from the trials.
“The restart of clinical trials across the world is great news as it allows us to continue our efforts to develop this vaccine to help defeat this terrible pandemic,” said Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca. “We should be reassured by the care taken by independent regulators to protect the public and ensure the vaccine is safe before it is approved for use.”
AstraZeneca is a global biopharmaceutical company that researches and develops medicines for the treatment of diseases in areas of oncology, cardiovascular, renal and metabolism, and respiratory and immunology.