AstraZeneca refutes reports linking its COVID-19 vaccine with recent deaths in Europe from blood clots; Anthony Fauci, MD, cautions against lifting US restrictions too soon amid case spikes in Europe; the White House is set to reveal a $1.5 billion public relations campaign to boost vaccine confidence and uptake nationwide.
Yesterday, AstraZeneca (AZ) refuted reports linking its COVID-19 vaccine with recent deaths in Europe from blood clots, as the company said in a statement that there is no scientific evidence on the association, although more countries continue to temporarily halt use of the vaccine. Reported by The Washington Post, the Dutch government had announced yesterday that it was suspending use of the AZ shot for the next 2 weeks as it investigates its safety, joining Ireland and Italy’s northern Piedmont region. So far, the AZ vaccine has been administered to 17 million people, with 15 cases of deep vein thrombosis and 22 pulmonary embolisms, which were noted by the company to be lower than expected.
Amid recent spikes in cases of COVID-19 throughout Europe that coincided with the relaxation of safety measures, America’s top infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, MD, cautioned against lifting US restrictions too soon. CNBC reports that as case trends in the United States continue to decline, those in Italy, Germany, Poland, and Hungary have spiked significantly, with the Czech Republic and Slovakia exhibiting the highest death rates worldwide. Notably, European countries are said to be struggling with their vaccine rollout, whereas the United States has administered 107 million vaccines and recorded a decline of 11% in new virus infections in the last week.
According to STAT, the White House is set to reveal an expansive $1.5 billion public relations campaign that will serve to boost vaccine confidence and uptake nationwide. Relayed through television, radio, and digital advertising, the campaign will focus on addressing skepticism of vaccines’ safety or effectiveness, as well as educating eager Americans who want the vaccine on where, when, and how they can receive it. Specifically, the campaign is said to target 3 groups in which access, apathy, or outright skepticism may pose a barrier to vaccinations, including young people, people of color, and conservatives.