It has the tone of someone who has just calmed down Paolo BonanniProfessor of Hygiene at the University of Florence and director of the Department of Health Sciences at the same university: «Yes, as a vaccinologist and supporter of indispensable prevention tools, I feel relieved. The decision on AstraZeneca is heartening. It finally clarifies ».
Belated clarity, in your opinion?
«With the data that the scientific community did not yet have it would have been difficult to intervene as we can do now with increased knowledge, gathered in these months of field vaccinations. It was no longer possible to go on with doubting adverbs ».
What exactly are you referring to?
«To say that a drug was used ‘preferably’ or preferentially over the age of 60 left room for too many uncertainties. In Italy we are special in moving among the regulatory uncertainties. In fact, the Regions have interpreted the prescriptions of the technical bodies in a different way. We have all seen it. In Friuli-Venezia Giulia, not a single open day was organized where AstraZeneca could have been offered without age limits. And so also in Veneto. Lazio instead implemented this strategy. Perhaps to use vials that would have remained in the refrigerators ».
The AstraZeneca vaccine was born under the best auspices. It was studied at the Jenner institute in Oxford, one of the best research centers in the world, and developed by a large multinational drug company. What happened then?
«All the vaccines authorized for Covid are effective and safe. Unfortunately, very rare and very serious adverse reactions have been observed, thrombosis accompanied by lowering of platelets, which still remain without a scientific explanation. Very few cases out of tens of millions of immunized people probably due to mechanisms of autoimmunity, an excessive response of the immune system. We don’t know which component of the vaccine they are triggered by. But it was not possible to continue to inoculate the doses even in the absence of certain proof of guilt ».
Do you have any doubts? Do you think that one day we could change our minds about what has been done?
“I do not believe. The link between the vaccine and thrombosis phenomena is more than plausible. It was impossible to find out earlier because in the early stages it is not possible to understand if there is a link between the inoculation of the dose and clots.
What if the experimental study had been more in-depth rather than conducted with the speed imposed by the pandemic caused by a new virus?
«The experimentation followed procedures authorized by the regulatory bodies. There was maximum transparency ».
Errors not even one? Possible?
“Only one. The communication strategy did not favor the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was unfortunate from the start when it was said that it should not be given to people over the age of 60. It is the only criticism I feel like making. In the course of a pandemic that causes thousands of deaths a day and floods hospitals with the seriously ill, even in the absence of complete data, the elderly and at risk population had to be protected. We had to think as if we were at war. So they did in the UK. For the preparation of the Anglo-Swedish company it was the beginning of the loss of credibility ».
Can it be recovered?
“I’m afraid not. People are scared. The death of the eighteen-year-old girl from Genoa has engendered a deep mistrust. And it is a shame because adenoviral vector vaccines like this are born from a new and very valid technology: a virus of another species deactivated and used to carry genetic information to cells ».
Anyone who has had a first dose of AstraZeneca will take a second dose with another vaccine if they are under 60. Do you see problems from this perspective?
«We don’t have much data but in vaccinology it is a road already traveled. The results should be good if not better in terms of efficacy and safety ».
VACCINE ASTRAZENECA AND DOSES TO UNDER 60: THE NEWS
June 12, 2021 (change June 12, 2021 | 07:04)
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