The trouble with AstraZeneca goes beyond blood clotting. Lack of trial data to show efficacy or safety in older people, blood clotting in women under 55, poor operational controls in research resulting in the controversy of a half dose being more effective when all along the independent variable may have been the interval between doses – 3 months not one month. Oops doesn’t inspire confidence in their research if they can’t get that right!
And it doesn’t stop there. Supply issues, broken contracts, vested national interests, protectionism, political interference and even questions surrounding the reliability and accuracy of information AstraZeneca is providing about its ‘baby’ – evidence that information and data may be being withheld.
The US has not yet completed its report on its phase 3 mass trial and rumours circulating AstraZeneca haven’t been providing up to date information. Efficacy is 30% lower than its rivals at 62%. So what are we not seeing here? What is AstraZeneca hiding? Why are so many countries and their regulators deliberating while host countries like UK and Australia (well in the minority), who have most to gain out of all this play politics with orders and supply, and ultimately people’s lives-willing to obfuscate their national public health messaging, information and choice?
One thing’s for sure, it is a dangerous game they are playing, when this all should be well above politics – but it ain’t is it, Messrs Morrison and Johnson? It is one step away from being weaponised and another to hide the truth from your general public.
We are being told it is safe, but clearly not for some, and for others there is an absence of data to support it. But the spin doctors are already out there ramming the public health safety slogan down our throats. And here in Australia, if you are eligible on medical grounds or concerns for an alternative, there is only one – Pfizer-BioNTech, and already it is not available to the general public, but most don’t know this.
The US also has Moderna and Johnson and Johnson, all three of which are more effective, arguably safer, and none of which so far, have thrown up any of the troubles of AstraZeneca.
So in Australia, the general population have just one vaccine which has been badly managed. Many unanswered questions. If you have no medical conditions or family history, having the vaccine evidently poses less risk than not taking it, little doubt about that. But until the US study is reported with its larger and broader sample, with latest reliable data and independent analysis, which we are told is soon, the truth about its effectiveness and safety in the elderly is yet to be properly established. But if you have a blood clotting disorder, serious heart condition, receiving medication and family history, you may be at higher risk than either AstraZeneca or the government is telling; and the government has failed to provide an alternative. That is probably what is compromising their willingness to tell the truth, so they are resorting to dumbed down public health messaging and guesswork.
So, what can we learn from all this?
- The research needs to be conducted on a reliable and independent footing, sound methodologies, rigorous, no compromises.
- The public need to be told the truth from the start, no guesswork for the sake of politicians sleeping in their beds at night. Do not mislead the public. The biggest threat to public confidence and consenting to vaccination is being lied to or misled, unsupported claims, and of course overzealous politicians who don’t know what they are talking about, covering up for their incompetence.
- Cautions, contraindications, risks must be labelled on the product and all product information; and for reasons we won’t go into that has been overlooked in the packaging and promotion of AstraZeneca; shortcuts, omissions and excuses unacceptable.
- There needs to be a choice, an alternative if there are medical contraindications and risks. That choice must be based on medical advice, case by case, not a bureaucrat or politician.
- Our government needs to address the order and supply problem – One for all is not acceptable.
- Don’t even think about travel passes and restrictions until you get this stuff right.
We can do better than this unless you like the sound of our master’s voice (I don’t and I don’t like his attitude), frankly he, like Boris doesn’t know what he is talking about either, other than pulling the wool over our eyes every day, pretty much on everything. But I would have expected better from the Chief Medical Officer in Australia than his one size fits all, dumbing down, and bugger the quality of the research, choice or supply.
Missteps plague AstraZeneca’s Vaccine Rollout, The Washington Post, 22 March 2021.
Reputation of AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine marred by missteps, Modern Healthcare, 23 March 2021.
WHO says AstraZeneca vaccinations should continue as some nations halt rollout amid concerns, The Washington Post, 13 March 2021.
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