COVID-19 vaccine Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca)

The Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, codenamed AZD1222, and sold under the brand names Covishield and Vaxzevria among others, is a viral vector vaccine for prevention of COVID-19. Developed in the United Kingdom by the Oxford University and British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, it is given by intramuscular injection, using as a vector the modified chimpanzee adenovirus ChAdOx1. Studies carried out in 2020 showed that the efficacy of the vaccine is 76.0% at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 beginning at 22 days following the first dose and 81.3% after the second dose. A study in Scotland found that, for symptomatic COVID-19 infection after the second dose, the vaccine is 81% effective against the Alpha variant (lineage B.1.1.7), and 61% against the Delta variant (lineage B.1.617.2).

The vaccine is stable at refrigerator temperatures and has a good safety profile, with side effects including injection-site pain, headache, and nausea, all generally resolving within a few days. More rarely, anaphylaxis may occur (the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has 268 reports out of some 21.2 million vaccinations as of 14 April 2021). In very rare cases (around 1 in 100,000 people) the vaccine has been associated with an increased risk of blood clots in combination with low levels of blood platelets. According to the European Medicines Agency as of 4 April 2021, 222 cases of blood clots have been reported from the European Economic Area and the UK, where around 34 million people have received the vaccine.

On 30 December 2020, the vaccine was first approved for use in the UK vaccination programme, and the first vaccination outside of a trial was administered on 4 January 2021. The vaccine has since been approved by several medicine agencies worldwide, such as the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (provisional approval in February 2021), and was approved for an Emergency Use Listing by the World Health Organization (WHO). By July 2021, one billion doses of the vaccine had been released to more than 170 countries worldwide. Some countries have limited its use to elderly people at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to concerns over the very rare side effects of the vaccine in younger individuals.