AstraZeneca: can we trace vaccines that belonged to potentially problematic lots?

In Italy, a teacher died a day after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. Italian health authorities are trying to verify “if there is a causal link between vaccination and death”. Pending AstraZeneca vaccinations have resumed, but a “lot” was however excluded as a precaution. But what is a lot? We put the question to Yves Van Laethem, interfederal spokesperson in the fight against the coronavirus and president of the vaccination section of the Superior Health Council.

“There are a lot of vaccines in a batch. We are not on 50,000 vaccines, but many more. It’s over a million “, specifies the infectious disease specialist. Suddenly, the lots are logically divided and shared over different territories. “There are small countries that do not receive as many doses. We would love to have a million AstraZeneca doses, but unfortunately that is not the case”, he laughs. “These batches are made out of the factory with vaccines that were manufactured on the same machines, in the same way. They are validated and then distributed in different countries.”

For example, the lot that raises questions after the death of a 49-year-old Austrian nurse, vaccinated a few days earlier, was shared between 17 countries. As a precaution, and specifying that there was “no evidence of a causal relationship with vaccination”, Austria has decided not to distribute the remaining stocks of the lot containing the vaccine administered to this nurse. In the process, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Luxembourg suspended vaccinations with doses from the same batch.

“We can act quickly”

For the moment, no scientific link has been established between deaths and the administration of vaccines. If this were to be the case, is it possible to quickly find all the problematic vaccines and especially the people who received them? “Obviously, you have to know where a particular vaccine is at all times. Everything is named and recorded”, explains Yves Van Laethem. The suspended batch in Italy has the code name ABV2856 and is therefore different from the one suspended by Austria, named ABV5300. “It is the basis of pharmacovigilance”, continues the virologist. “Everything is traceable. If we block a lot, the countries concerned can locate the vaccination centers where the vaccines have been deposited. We also know that such and such a person has received an AstraZeneca for example, from such and such a lot, at such time. allows you to act quickly in the event of a problem. “

The Vaccination taskforce understands that questions arise after recent events, but recalls that major problems, there are not for the moment: “to At this stage, nothing visibly links the cases of thrombosis with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. There is therefore currently no evidence that the vaccines from the discarded batches are of poor quality. “

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