AstraZeneca stresses commitment to cooperate with Jordan to end pandemic

[08-09-2021 12:38 PM]

Ammon News - AstraZeneca – Jordan underlined its commitment to cooperate with the Jordanian government to curb the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and make a positive impact in the region, said Abdulkareem Dissi, the pharmaceutical's Area Director.

In an interview with the Jordan News Agency (Petra) on Monday evening, Dissi said that the pharmaceutical is actively working with international organizations, governments, healthcare leaders, industry, and civil society to end the pandemic, stressing the need to continue cooperation with the Jordanian government to that end.

AstraZeneca’s partnership with the Jordanian government has led to the delivery of more than 600,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to date. "Thousands of lives are being saved every day as a result of such urgent and committed cooperation," Dissi noted.

He lauded the efforts exerted by His Majesty King Abdullah II and the government throughout the pandemic to provide the appropriate infrastructure, hospitals and immunization centers, in addition to launching awareness campaigns on the vaccine and providing the highest levels of safety to the Jordanian society. He also highlighted the importance of continuing cooperation with all concerned parties to achieve the best possible outcomes during and after the pandemic.

As one of the leading global, science-led biopharmaceutical business, AstraZeneca plays a key role in fighting the pandemic in Jordan and across the globe, he stated. "Recognizing the urgent need for an effective COVID-19 vaccine to help defeat the virus, we joined forces with the University of Oxford in April 2020 to make a meaningful difference to the course of the pandemic and help save lives. This landmark partnership brought together Oxford University’s world-class expertise in vaccinology with AstraZeneca’s global development and manufacturing capabilities. Together we committed to providing the vaccine broadly and equitably around the world, at no profit during the pandemic period," Dissi pointed out.

To help meet global demand for a COVID-19 vaccine, AstraZeneca rapidly conducted due diligence with more than 60 potential partners to ultimately build a global supply network of more than 25 proven manufacturing organizations in 15 countries with the capability and capacity to supply the vaccine, he added.

On vaccine safety, Dissi said: "Ensuring the safety of our vaccine is paramount and we are actively working with the regulators and scientific community to understand extremely rare blood clotting events that have been reported, including information to drive early diagnosis and intervention, and appropriate treatment for the condition."

AstraZeneca, he added, partnered with capable and established organizations, including the Serum Institute of India and R-Pharm, in countries which have large-scale manufacturing capacity to ensure that the vaccine could be manufactured at scale and reach people in need as quickly as possible.

On the coronavirus variants, Dissi stated that AstraZeneca and scientists worldwide continue to monitor new variants of COVID-19 closely and carefully assess their impact on vaccine effectiveness.

Currently, the World Health Organization recognizes four variants that display increased transmission, or virulence, and are considered variants of concern. "Our vaccine is effective against WHO-identified variants of concern including the current circulating Beta and Delta variants," he assured.

Vaccines, Dissi indicated, remain the most cost-effective protection against COVID-19 and are a good tool to help defeat the pandemic and help save lives, adding that the WHO, and other international bodies, have all stated that the benefits of vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca continue to outweigh any potential risks.

He said that the vaccine has been shown to have a favorable reactogenicity and general safety profile, pointing out that incidents of an extremely rare blood disorder, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTS) have been reported in a small number of people who have received the vaccine within 14 days of the first dose (8.1 events per million vaccinated) which reduced to rates expected in the general population after the second dose (2.3 events per million vaccinated).

The United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the United Nations recommendations state that TTS in these patients are treatable, he underscored. Additionally, data from three large, real-world studies with over 4.5 million individuals from the UK and Spain, COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca and mRNA COVID-19 vaccines showed similar safety profiles.

Rates of rare blood clotting events after the first dose with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca were in line with what would be expected in the general population and lower than in those diagnosed with COVID-19, while rates of venous thromboembolism were 6 to 8 times higher after a diagnosis of COVID-19 infection compared with the expected rate, he said.

In clinical trials with up to 60,000 people, the vaccine has been shown to be well tolerated and effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, with no severe cases and no hospitalizations more than 14 days after the first dose, Dissi told Petra.

A good level of protection, he added, is given following the first dose with exploratory analysis showing 73% efficacy, 22 days after a single dose of vaccine. Extending the dose interval up to 12 weeks can boost efficacy to around 80%, more than 14 days after the second dose, he pointed out.

In February of 2021, the Jordan Food and Drug Administration (JFDA) authorized the use of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. Jordan has received three shipments of the vaccine to date through COVAX.

Before the authorization was granted, AstraZeneca had already been working closely with the Jordanian government, COVAX and other stakeholders to accelerate and finalize the required supply agreements to ensure access to the vaccine as early as possible in 2021.


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