Three COVID-19 vaccines have been placed on hold due to possible safety issues.
It’s been a long eight months in the U.S., and we are finally at a point where the government has a few vaccines that will potentially fight against, treat or help a person evade the deadly Coronavirus. According to Fast Company, COVID-19 vaccine test trials have been placed on hold as numbers of cases rise, and now there are concerns that vaccines are being rushed through the safety and efficacy trial process. However, the website reports that the pauses are normal when developing and trialing a new vaccine.
The National Institute of Health sent out a statement sharing details about the holds on clinical trials for Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca at a Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting. “Adverse events are expected in both the vaccine and placebo group,” said Hilary Marston, a medical officer at the National Institutes of Health and a policy adviser for Pandemic Preparedness. “We are finding these events because we are specifically looking for them, and we are looking for them according to tried and true processes.”
She went on to say that they are working on making sure the trials are done thoroughly and efficiently. “Recent regulatory holds are signs the systems are working as expected,” she said. “We are finding these cases and working them up thoroughly.”
The pauses came into play first in July and in September after a patient began experiencing neurological symptoms. One of the patients was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which was unrelated to the vaccine. Another endured spinal inflammation. According to CNN, AstraZeneca, one of the companies that oversee the vaccine effort, said it was still investigating. Vaccine trials have moved forward in the U.K., India, Brazil, South Africa, and Japan, but not yet in the U.S.; participants are currently waiting on their second dose in the States.
Paul Offit, a professor of pediatrics who leads vaccine education at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and sits on the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, said over an email that pauses will occasionally happen and that sometimes the privacy of a patient can cause a conflict when it comes to reporting updates in the trials. “Transparency is always an issue with these pauses—a conflict between privacy issues for the patients and the public’s need to know exactly what is going on,” he says.
A large variety of Americans are worried about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Because of this, the CDC is rolling out a vaccination campaign called “Vaccinate With Confidence,” which was created to help Americans feel more comfortable about getting vaccinated. According to YouGov’s poll, only 36 percent of Americans said they would definitely get a COVID-19 vaccine, accordion to Fast Company.