Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine hold-up might be due to variant concerns


Millions of people have been vaccinated across the U.K. and the E.U. with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Despite the vaccine being used in more than 50 countries, however, it has still not yet been approved by Health Canada.

Kelly Grindrod a professor in pharmacy at the University of Waterloo said mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna are different than AstraZeneca, which is a viral vector.

Grindrod said depending on which vaccine is used it may not fully protect you from COVID variants.

“The big problem that is coming up is the mRNA is able to retain a lot of their effectiveness with the variants, AstraZenecas’ vaccine may not perform as well with variants and that seems to be the thing that is really holding things up.”

She went on to say, although it may not be as effective against variants, there are some positives in approving the vaccine.

“There are logistical problems with Pfizer and Moderna, wonderfully effective but, logistically difficult and the AstraZeneca vaccine is a fridge vaccine, it’s like a flu shot, you can just transport it normally it’s not fragile and this makes it a lot easier to distribute to doctors and pharmacies.”

She suspects the big debate may be whether some protection is better than no protection.

Grindrod said 99 per cent of vaccine rollout hinges on getting vaccines into the country and Canada only has two approved so far.



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