‘Extremely good news’: New AstraZeneca discovery

 

Just one shot of either the Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine can cut hospital admissions of older people by 80 per cent, new data shows.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the finding and also revealed the jab may offer better protection against COVID-19 than first thought.

The Public Health England figures compared people who received the first dose of the vaccine with others of a similar age who were yet to receive protection.

Mr Hancock said the data was "extremely good news".

"A single shot of either the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine or of the Pfizer vaccine works against severe infection among the over-70s with a more than 80 per cent reduction in hospitalisations," he said in a public address to the nation.

 

"In fact, the detailed data show that the protection that you get from catching COVID 35 days after a first jab is even slightly better for the Oxford jab than for Pfizer, albeit both results are clearly very strong."

It comes as the first supply of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine arrived in Australia.

High-risk Australians are already receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, which requires two doses, 21 days apart.

AstraZeneca, Australia's second COVID vaccine, requires two doses four to 12 weeks apart.

This is what you need to know about AstraZeneca's rollout in Australia.

HOW MUCH DID WE GET

A total of 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine touched down in Sydney on Sunday morning. They were safely transported to a warehouse in Western Sydney where temperature checking got underway. 

Health Minister Greg Hunt on Sunday said he received preliminary advice that temperature had been maintained throughout the course of the flight.

The vaccine, dubbed AZD1222, can be stored and transported at normal refrigerated temps of 2 degrees to 8 degrees Celsius for at least six months.

"This is the first part of the process. So this is another important milestone. In one shipment, we have more than doubled the total amount of vaccines that have arrived in Australia," Mr Hunt said.


WHEN WILL IT ROLL OUT

The AstraZeneca vaccines will be batch tested by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and released by next Monday, March 8, if not earlier, according to Greg Hunt.

Pharmaceutical companies that wish to market a product here must submit evidence including the results of large scale clinical trials to the TGA to prove their medicine is safe to use in humans and that it works to prevent disease or improve a health condition.

"We will release 200,000 doses to the states, which will more than double that which they will have already received (in the Pfizer vaccine) by this week, and what that means is that they will be in a position to rapidly upscale the rollout to quarantine workers, to all of the 1A participants, in particular they have lead responsibility for quarantine and frontline healthcare workers," Mr Hunt said.


WHEN WILL WE MAKE OUR OWN

It's the first of 53.8 million units of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be made available in Australia. 

Other shipments will follow, and then, the first of the CSL Australian-made and produced AstraZeneca vaccines are expected to arrive.

CSL is due to deliver one million doses per week, with about two million expected before the end of March.

In total, the company will manufacture 50 million AstraZeneca doses in Victoria.

WHEN CAN I GET IT

You can roughly predict when you will be vaccinated but not which vaccine you will get.

The options are AstraZeneca, Pfizer or perhaps, or looking further one from Novavax.

Bur Mr Hunt said most Australians will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

"Australia is in a unique position because, importantly, this vaccine gives us the ability to manufacture onshore. Every Australian who wishes to be vaccinated will be able to receive a vaccine this year."

Originally published as 'Extremely good news': New AstraZeneca discovery



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