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.