AstraZeneca today justified the change of the name of its vaccine against covid-19 to Vaxzevria for commercial reasons, assuring that “it does not mean any change” in the distribution of the drug, after criticisms of insufficient production for the European Union (EU).
The AstraZeneca vaccine against covid-19 changed its name to Vaxzevria after the approval of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the regulator announced today, disclosing that until last Thursday, 10 million doses of this drug had been administered.
Asked by the Lusa agency about the announcement, the official source of the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca indicates in a written reply that “the change to a commercial name is usual and has been planned for several months”.
“This change does not mean any change in AstraZeneca’s policy of distributing the vaccine – without profit during the pandemic”, the same source adds.
The information about the new designation of this vaccine – shrouded in controversy because the pharmaceutical company failed to agree with Brussels on deliveries to the EU and the appearance of blood clots in vaccinees – is in an update to the product, published today by the EMA.
In this Monday update on the drug, the EMA discloses that, in addition to the name change, “a warning about very rare specific blood clot events has been included in the product information, while further investigations are underway into a possible causal relationship with the vaccine “.
The European regulator also states that, since the vaccine was approved in the EU on 29 January and until last Thursday, “more than 10 million doses of Vaxzevria have been administered in the EU and European Economic Area”, well below the 120 million doses agreed between the pharmaceutical company and the European Commission for this first quarter.
Another controversy was related to the episodes of the appearance of blood clots and the death of people inoculated with this drug, which led most European countries, including Portugal, to suspend the administration of this vaccine for a few days, a situation that was overcome after the EMA ensured that it is “safe and effective”.
With regard to the European vaccination campaign, as of last Thursday, 18.2 million adults out of close to 400 million EU citizens had already received the second dose of the covid-19 vaccine, with the result that only 4, 1% of the European population was fully immunized.
Brussels attributed these low levels of inoculations to the problems in delivering vaccines from Vaxzevria to the EU, demanding that the pharmaceutical company catches up with delays in distribution and honors the contracted.
Currently, four vaccines are approved in the EU: Pfizer / BioNTech (Comirnaty), Moderna, Vaxzevria and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson group, not yet in distribution).
By the end of this first quarter, according to Brussels, almost 100 million doses of vaccines will reach the EU, the vast majority from Pfizer / BioNTech (66 million, more than the 65 million initially agreed), from Vaxzevria (30 million). a total of 120 million initially agreed) and Moderna (10 million).
For the second quarter, the expectation of the community executive is that 360 million doses will reach the EU, mainly from Pfizer / BioNTech (200 million), from Vaxzevria (70 million from a total of 180 million initially agreed), from Janssen (55 million ) and Moderna (35 million).