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The Latest: AstraZeneca Is a “Good Vaccine” With Bad Management

Dear Reader,

Last week, when the World Health Organization said the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe to use, after much speculation about its link to blood clots, I thought that the company’s drama was over. (Experts say it is not linked to an increased risk of blood clots.) The trial results it released on Monday suggested the vaccine was 79% effective. It was a promising start to the week.

But as we’ve all seen during the pandemic, things can change at a moment’s notice. Shortly after midnight on Tuesday, U.S. health officials raised concerns that the data AstraZeneca had released was outdated and cherry-picked to show the best results. Science journalist Emily Mullin explained the details of this snafu on the Coronavirus Blog. The company has said it would work with health officials to release more up-to-date information soon.

It’s a hot mess — one that indicates bad management. Which is a real shame, because as National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases chief Anthony Fauci, MD, said on Good Morning America yesterday, “This is very likely a very good vaccine. If you look at it, the data really are quite good.” The AstraZeneca vaccine is widely distributed around the world, it’s safe, and most importantly, it can save millions of lives. I just hope its usefulness isn’t overshadowed by its manufacturer’s poor decisions.

Stay safe and stay hopeful,

Yasmin Tayag
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

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Summer break is fast approaching, and with it the pressure to go on family vacations. Unfortunately, kids aren’t eligible to get vaccinated yet. But, as science journalist Emily Willingham writes on the Coronavirus Blog, not all hope is lost for a family trip. You just have to mitigate risk: Taking a private car rather than flying, spending as much time outside, and a thing called “cocooning” are all steps you can take to have a safer vacation. Just remember, however, that there’s no such thing as “zero risk.”

Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog. Senior editor at Future Human by OneZero. Previously: science at Inverse, genetics at NYU.

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