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Oxford vaccine may be key weapon against new COVID variants

London — One of the strongest weapons against the troubling number of new coronavirus variants in the United States and worldwide may be one vaccine the FDA hasn’t approved yet.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization gave the go ahead for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be used internationally, and it is already being distributed in countries around the world to help fight COVID-19.

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But AstraZeneca is awaiting the results of clinical trials in America, which it expects to wrap up in the coming weeks, before it makes its application to the FDA.

“The vaccine has an impact against that variant. That is astonishing.”
Part of the reason for that success is the 12-week gap between shots in the U.K., rather than the four-week program currently standard in the U.S., Pollard said.

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“If you give that vaccine to many, many more people as the first dose, that ends hospitalization and deaths immediately, while if you give two doses close together, you’ll be selfishly giving those two doses to half the number of people, slowing down that rollout and the protection of the population,” Pollard said.

With more than 500,000 people dead in the U.S., and new variants continuing to emerge, the need to roll out more shots more quickly has never been higher.

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