AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine provides equally effective protection against hospitalisation and deaths compared with mRNA vaccines, latest expert review shows

FRIDAY, JULY 15, 2022

A newly published expert review of real-world data demonstrates that AstraZeneca’s vaccine and mRNA COVID-19 vaccines provide equally effective protection against hospitalisation and death following two doses.

The review, published by Expert Review of Vaccines, a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal, looks at the effectiveness of the world’s most-used COVID-19 vaccines from 79 real-world studies. 

The data shows that both the AstraZeneca vaccine, a viral vector vaccine, and ‘mRNA’ COVID-19 vaccines, offer equivalent protection against hospitalisation (91.3%-92.5%) and death (91.4%-93.3%) regardless of age, with no statistical difference between them.1 While data available at the time of review relates to Delta and earlier variants, available statistics indicate similar findings on serious COVID-19 outcomes resulting from Omicron.

Professor Guy Thwaites, Director of the Oxford Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam and one of the study’s authors, said: “The data reveals how the world’s most widely used vaccines protect people against the very worst outcomes from COVID-19. With the virus set to have a significant global impact for the foreseeable future, the new data serves as important information for the region’s policymakers as they put strategic plans in place for the continued protection of their populations.”

Mr James Teague, president of AstraZeneca (Thailand) Company Limited, said: “Vaccines have been crucial in saving lives and enabling countries in Southeast Asia to move from the most critical phase of the pandemic towards living with COVID-19. As governments consider the implications of the virus becoming endemic, the published data provides reassuring evidence that the ability of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, and the available mRNA vaccines, in preventing people from being hospitalised or dying is equivalent.” 

The data, reviewed by infectious disease experts from across Asia, comes from VIEW-hub, an interactive platform for visualizing global data on vaccine use and impact developed by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the International Vaccine Access Center. The platform is updated on a weekly basis to include global real-world studies on vaccine effectiveness. The 79 real-world studies reviewed included comparative effectiveness data for AstraZeneca’s vaccine and mRNA vaccines, specifically BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273. The VIEW-hub platform is not currently designed to capture the safety outcomes of these studies, preventing similar safety comparisons.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine is a ‘viral vector’ vaccine, which means a version of a virus that cannot cause disease is used as part of the vaccine, so if the body is exposed to the real virus later it is able to fight it.  This vaccine technology has been used by scientists over the past 40 years to fight other infectious diseases such as the flu, Zika, Ebola and HIV.

AstraZeneca and its global partners have released over 3 billion vaccine doses to more than 180 countries, and approximately two-thirds of these doses have been delivered to low- and lower-middle income countries. Based on model outcomes assessing COVID-19, the AstraZeneca vaccine is estimated to have helped save over 6 million lives between 08 December 2020 and 08 December 2021.