The Oxford vaccine: a quick update

Thanksgiving brings less than great news on the Oxford vaccine: Its tests used control groups that weren’t comparable, and its initial report kind of glossed over that by averaging the two together. One group got two equal doses of the vaccine. The other got an initial half dose, then a second full dose, and it responded better than the first.

But that second group also had a top age of 55 and the other group included older people. So what was responsible for the difference, age or dosage? 

The control groups in the two different tests–those are the people who didn’t get the real vaccine–also got different placebos, which may or may not make a difference.

That initial half dose wasn’t a deliberate decision but a manufacturing mistake that seems to have paid off. Regulators were told about it at the time.

I’m not sure how much of a problem any of this is. An article in Wired makes it sound damn near skulldugerous. One in the Financial Times is more ho-hum about it. At this point, it’s worth knowing while we wait and see what the experts have to say.


24 thoughts on “The Oxford vaccine: a quick update

  1. There are going to be trust problems around any of these vaccines. It took about 40 years for the polio vaccine to be developed; there’s no vaccine in sight for HIV; and now we have these variations on a vaccine within 10 months for COVID-19. My 94 year old mother says she’ll wait until they get the kinks worked out.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’ve seen a number of articles about the safety of the vaccines and they’re reassuring. A lot of the speed on this comes from the companies starting to manufacture before they have the results of the trials, so they’re gambling a lot of money, but the trials themselves are the same as they are for any other vaccine. In an odd way, the fact that the non-standard elements of the Oxford vaccine trials are coming out is reassuring.

      My partner and I are in our 70s and 80s–not up there with your mother, but old enough to be in high risk groups. Our feeling is that in balancing one risk (the vaccine) against the other (Covid), we’ll gamble on the vaccine. But I do understand your mother’s take on it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Our county (in NE Ohio) is poised on the edge of Def-Con Purple, which is beyond RED. I am in the risk group too but my take on the vaccine was best expressed by our VicePresident elect : asked if she’s get the vaccine she said “If Trump tells me it’s ok, no. If the doctors say so – yes.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • I really do hope they can come back from this. It’s so much easier a vaccine to ship and manage.

      They do say–or they did after Watergate–that it’s not the crime (or in this case the mistake) that gets you, it’s the coverup.


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