OMAHA, Neb. — The path to approving a fourth COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. just got a boost, as a new U.S. study found that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is 79% effective against the virus and 100% effective against severe illness and hospitalization. Local infectious disease experts are excited about the opportunity of yet another vaccine on the market but say a deep analysis still needs to be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
AstraZeneca said it will submit the vaccine to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization in the coming weeks.
The U.S. has already pre-ordered 300 million doses.
"So this is all great news, it's another vaccine that may come forward and be used in the United States," said infectious disease expert Dr. Rupp with the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Dr. Rupp said he hopes these new findings build trust in the vaccine, but a lot of questions still remain.
"Before we get too further down, I do really want to see the FDA Emergency Use Authorization," said CHI Health infectious diseases expert Dr. Renuga Vivekanandan.
The FDA is expected to review the vaccine when the company submits in April. Many questions are expected regarding side effects due to reports of blood clots in Europe after individuals received the vaccine.
Nebraska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Anthone said multiple agencies have debunked the blood clot correlation
"There's no real significance between the vaccine and developing more blood clots. They're working out that data now. But as far as I know, it's not a concern," he said.
Ricketts is excited to see another vaccine in the mix.
"The more that we can get to folks, the better off we're going to be," he said.
The two-dose, live vaccine is similar to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. If approved, the vaccine would be another major factor in the fight against COVID-19.