NurPhoto via NurPhoto via Getty Images
“These are very encouraging data that must push us to focus even more on the need to accelerate. Had we vaccinated more, we would not count, as unfortunately we still do, 400 deaths a day ”. For the scientist Silvio Garattini, founder and president and of the’Research Institute “Mario Negri”, “These numbers instill confidence”.
There is talk of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, in the press conference convened to communicate the new evaluation on AstraZeneca the head of the EMA task force, Peter Arlett, explained: “Out of 4.5 million doses administered of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, three cases of thrombosis similar to those seen in AstraZeneca “. Numbers in hand, “less than one case in a million – points out Garattini – a truly incredible relationship”.
The drug of the US multinational, the fourth to be approved by the EMA, the first single-dose and therefore highly anticipated, will arrive in Italy in a few weeks, starting from the second half of April. It is a vaccine made using an adenovirus as a vector to introduce the information necessary to produce the antigen into cells. The same technology – even if the exploited viruses are different – chosen for AstraZeneca (“and also for Sputnik V”, adds the founder of the “Mario Negri” Institute).
More than one, after the latest developments on the AstraZeneca case, has begun to question the possibility that, being the Johnson & Johnson vaccine “built” like that of the Anglo-Swedish company, it could raise the same fears related to possible rare thrombosis.
The numbers communicated today by Ema are “encouraging”, in the words of Professor Garattini. “The events reported on Jhonson & Johnson are very rare and in these cases it is very difficult to establish the cause and effect relationship between these events and the vaccine.”
On the other hand, the scientist underlines, “also with regard to AstraZeneca, the EMA referred to a correlation, which is very different from the cause and effect relationship, insisting a lot on the fact that the benefits outweigh the risks”.
If even with Johnson & Johnson some rare event could occur, “only time will tell. The very positive data released today by Ema remain ”, Garattini considers. According to the founder of the “Mario Negri” Institute, “now we need to focus even more on the vaccination campaign. “I can’t explain how all the European countries that are part of it declare that they trust Ema, but then, systematically they do it on their own – underlines Garattini – this confusion accompanied by a disastrous communication creates a Babel, which should be put to an end”. And soon. “Especially in our country which is far behind, too far behind the others and the issues to be addressed. If such a state of confusion about vaccines is fueled, making the way out of the emergency even more complicated, then it is useless to be surprised or complained if social tension grows “. We need to speed up vaccination. The way forward is that of the United Kingdom, where he has been vaccinated to the bitter end. “We have seen that the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths have decreased there. Had we vaccinated like them, it would have happened with us too. And instead – concludes Garattini – we still continue to count hundreds of deaths every day ”.