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Pascal Soriot, the Chief Executive of AstraZeneca revealed that the vaccine is as effective as Pfizer and can be a strong protector against the new variant of the virus which is very contagious.
AstraZeneca Plc (NASDAQ: AZN) has responded to the circulating news concerning the near approval of its COVID-19 vaccine by next week. According to reports, the UK intends to roll out the vaccine on January 4th after earlier approving and administering the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine.
The positive vaccine news has had a trickle-down effect on the other major stocks as the global economy is expected to get back on track. The UK government seeks to get 2 million people vaccinated in a bid to reduce the lockdown in most parts of the country as claimed by reports. Meanwhile, AZN stock is over 4% up today in the pre-market, trading at $50.60.
The effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccines has been under debate with some experts questioning its 75% efficacy compared to the 95% efficacy of Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA). This makes the long term outlook of its stock questionable as its approval is unclear.
Michael Gove, a cabinet office minister is not looking at anywhere else except its positive benefit to the UK.
“If we do get the authorization for that vaccine, and the rollout goes according to plan, then we will be able to progressively lift some of the restrictions, which have made life so difficult for so many, ” he said.
Pascal Soriot, the Chief Executive of AstraZeneca, revealed that the vaccine is as effective as Pfizer and can be a strong protector against the new variant of the virus which is very contagious. He added that the virus should remain effective, but they cannot be certain unless they test that.
Questions Raised against AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine
The clinical trial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine came out with an average efficacy of 70%. According to reports, the first set of participants received two full doses a month apart and recorded efficacy of 62%. The second set of participants received a half-dose and a full dose and recorded a 90% efficacy. However, it was claimed that the administration of the second subgroup started with a mistake.
Moncef Slaoui, the head of the US government funding program for vaccine development, Operation Warp Speed revealed that only people within the age group of not more than 55 were considered. According to reports, this age group is said to have a lower risk of the virus. The company did not also disclose the age breakdown during the release. Slaoui said that there are variables that need to be understood as it is possible the efficacy difference was random.
Another Analyst at SVB Leerink, Geoffrey Porges stated that it was hard for the US government to grant approval to vaccines highlighting a higher efficacy in a small subset of subjects to embellish their results. These criticisms affected their shares in the short term contrary to the behavior of the Pfizer and Moderna stocks after their press release.