There were initial reports of the AstraZeneca vaccine with a slightly lower effective rate compared to the primary North American vaccines made by Moderna and Phizer. Couple that with recent dubious concerns that the AZ vaccine was causing health problems (blood clots), and many governments paused distribution. That also meant general populations refused to take it, thereby stigmatizing the vaccine in a time when ANY vaccine is the right one. These are valid concerns by the public, but with additional information becoming available, those concerns must be put to rest. It also behooves governments that have approved the vaccine (or will), to do a better job with public health communication to dispel any rumours AstraZeneca isn’t a “good” vaccine. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In the study of 30,000 people, the vaccine was 79% effective at preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 — including in older adults. There were no severe illnesses or hospitalizations among vaccinated volunteers, compared with five such cases in participants who received dummy shots — a small number, but consistent with findings from Britain and other countries that the vaccine protects against the worst of the disease.