AstraZeneca revises Covid vaccine data with lower efficacy rate after accuracy questions

Health, Fitness & Food

A healthcare worker prepares to inject an AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine.
Eloisa Lopez

AstraZeneca issued updated Phase 3 trial data for its Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday after facing criticism earlier this week over a preliminary report.

The company now says its vaccine is 76% effective in protecting against symptomatic cases of virus. A release issued on Monday reported a symptomatic efficacy rate of 79%. The updated report maintains that the vaccine is 100% effective against severe disease and hospitalization.

A slate of U.S. health officials criticized the company in recent days for what some saw as data cherry-picking in an effort to make the results appear more favorable.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on Tuesday revealed it was informed that the U.K.-based company may have included information in its U.S. results that provided an “incomplete view of the efficacy data.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical advisor and director at the NIAID, called the situation “unfortunate” and said it was likely AstraZeneca would issue a modified statement.

“This is really what you call an unforced error because the fact is this is very likely a very good vaccine,” Fauci told ABC’s Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America.” “This kind of thing does … really cast some doubt about the vaccines and maybe contribute to the hesitancy. It was not necessary.”

The updated results include data collected from 190 symptomatic cases, an increase of roughly 50 cases studied compared with the data set released on Monday.

The findings suggest the vaccine is more effective in patients aged 65 and older than previously understood, with a newly reported efficacy rate of 85% for that population, up from a previously stated 80%.

—CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and Steve Kopack contributed to this report.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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