Two pending COVID vaccines could boost Canada’s rollout efforts, but they’re not yet approved

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AstraZeneca did a separate clinical trial last year that other countries have relied on to approve the vaccine. That trial, however, had a dosing error, where some participants were given two full doses while some were given a half dose combined with a full dose.

Overall, the vaccine was shown to be 70 per cent effective at preventing people from developing COVID, but the company started a second trial to gather more data without the error.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease physician and member of Ontario’s vaccine task force, said the dosing error is something that needs to be closely scrutinized.

“Health Canada is doing the right thing by clearly taking their time to evaluate the vaccine. They’ve got it right. There should be no external pressure and no political interference,” he said. “That study was actually conducted in a very sloppy manner, and reported in a very sloppy manner.”

If people don’t have trust in the process or trust in the product, they’re not going to take the vaccine

Bogoch said Canadians have to have confidence in the vaccines, because a shot people are reluctant to take doesn’t help the situation.

“These vaccines will only work if people take it and if people don’t have trust in the process or trust in the product, they’re not going to take the vaccine.”

Steven Kerfoot, an associate professor of immunology at Western University, Ont.,  said the problem with AstraZeneca’s trial is that it wasn’t complete and the regulators need a full picture.

“And so the expectation from Canada’s understanding is that they want to see a complete trial with efficacy and safety data built in.”

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