Astra Zeneca debacle, pediatric trial update, and more.

Random vaccine updates and updated table

AstraZeneca (AZ) debacle

Recap: AZ reported old information during their Monday press release. This sparked the independent data and safety review board to publicly question results, which then forced AZ to update their press release with accurate numbers.

AZ said (again, no one has access to the raw data) 49 COVID-19 cases were not included in their original efficacy numbers. There are also 14 more cases still being investigated. After updating their numbers, efficacy decreased from 79% to 76%. Is this a clinically meaningful change? Probably not. But this small mistake damaged an already vaccine hesitant U.S. Two other important notes:

  1. 100% efficacy against severe disease and hospitalization (this didn’t change)

  2. 85% efficacy among participants aged 65 years and older (this changed in the positive direction, it was 80%)

Science by press release is just not the way to go. Vaccine sponsors have been announcing results before scientific review. Thus far, though, they’ve accurately reflected the science. However, when this doesn’t happen, the peer review process plays out very publicly and makes people, understandably, skeptical.

Pediatric trials

With the variants of concern, we will not reach herd immunity without kiddos vaccinated. Thankfully, we got updates this week…

  • Pfizer: 9-year old twins in North Carolina were the first to be vaccinated in the pediatric trial (aged 6 months-11 years). The pediatric trial is enrolling 144 children, and they are testing three different doses. After they determine which dose is best, Pfizer will test the vaccine in 4,500 children. Results are expected by Fall 2021 and, if all goes well, distribution will start in 2022. This is IF (and this is a big if) the FDA allows for 2 months of follow-up data. They may require 6 months of follow-up data for kids. Results from the adolescent trial (12-15 years) should be coming in the next few weeks. We are on track for adolescent vaccinations this Fall.

  • Moderna: The pediatric trial (called KidCOVE) has also started for Moderna on March 16. Moderna plans to enroll 6,750 children ages 6 months through 11 years. The timeline for results (both for child and adolescent trials) mirror Pfizer’s.

  • J&J: Plans to start their pediatric trials “soon”. They are waiting on the aged-escalation process to play out.

  • AZ: Started their pediatric trial last month in the UK.

Vaccines produce better protection than “natural” immunity

A study this week found that both natural infection and vaccine infection produces enough neutralizing antibodies for B.1.1.7. Interestingly, they also found that the number of neutralizing antibodies is higher among vaccinated compared to infected patients. This may mean that the vaccine response will last longer among vaccinated (compared to naturally infected). Everyone needs to get the vaccine, regardless of previous infection.

Panel A - This shows the antibody response among people who are actively sick with COVID-19.; Panel B - This shows the antibody response among people who are 32-94 days after being sick with COVID-19; Panel C - This shows people who were fully vaccinated - 2 weeks after the 2nd dose (in this study, they looked at Moderna).

Variant Info

We’re starting to see the much awaited variant surge play out across the states. This is most apparent in Michigan, which has one of the highest B.1.1.7. case rates.

Updated vaccine table

The new, aforementioned information, has been added to my vaccine table.

Have a great weekend!

Love, YLE