The Editors Podcast: Europe vs. AstraZeneca

A vial with the AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in Berlin, Germany, March 16, 2021. (Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

While several European governments recently withdrew their authorization for the AstraZeneca vaccine owing to fears of a blood-clot issue, the results of the U.S. trial of this vaccine came in today exactly where you’d have expected them to, given the performance of the vaccine in the United Kingdom. It’s a great vaccine: 79 percent effective at reducing symptomatic disease, and 100 percent at reducing severe disease and hospitalization.

We have a giant stockpile of this vaccine waiting to go, and hopefully FDA approval is not far off.

European governments, acting in a panic — or worse, out of sheer anger and envy at the U.K.’s initial control over the AstraZeneca vaccine and their success with it — look mighty silly right now. Most of those countries began correcting course late last week.

There will be many questions about the wisdom of some of our shutdowns and lockdown policies — and there should be. The soft science of public health has taken a beating in this pandemic. But, the U.S.’s ability to mobilize hard scientific research and the pharma industry in this crisis is really astonishing.

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