Has the AstraZeneca Vaccine Been Renamed ‘Vaxzevria?’

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News and various posts on social media have been shared claiming that the AstraZeneca vaccine had been renamed.

Some of the posts, like this one (also see below) published on March 31, 2021, include other details that are either disputed or outrightly false.

Did the AstraZeneca vaccine get renamed, though?

Background

These claims follow concerns that have been surrounding the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine. A number of countries suspended the use of this vaccine over claims that it causes blood clots.  Recently, Germany became the latest European country to halt the use of this vaccine over the same claims on its recipients. The country’s vaccine regulator restricted vaccination to people above 60 years of age.

Data shows that up to 24th March 2021, out of the 18.1 million doses, there were 30 reported cases of blood clots in the UK. 22 of these were cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and 8 were cases of other thrombosis events with low platelet count.

As a review of very rare cases of blood clots continues, the European Medicines Agency maintains that the vaccine is safe and effective to use. There will be an updated report concerning the vaccine on 7th March 2021. 

Verification

Following an application from Oxford-AstraZeneca to rename the vaccine, the manufacturing company received an approval from Europa Medicens Agency in March 25, 2021.

A new report was published by AstraZeneca with an updated data showing the efficacy of the VAXZEVRIA vaccine (formerly AstraZeneca).  From the analysis, the report shows that the vaccine has a 76% efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 cases with an 85% efficacy in adults 65 years and above. The document further states that the vaccine was well tolerated and no safety concerns were identified.

Very common side effects of this vaccine are tenderness, pain, warmth, itching or bruising where the injection is given. Common side effects that could affect 1 in 10 people are swelling or redness where the injection is given and a fever above 38 ˚C.

We ran a cross check of the product components of AstraZeneca vaccine and the newly created VAXZEVRIA vaccine.

These screengrabs below show product information contained in the AstraZeneca vaccine.

These ones show components found in VAXZEVRIA:

From these screenshots, the name change does not affect much about the vaccine only for the packaging and labeling.

Verdict

It is TRUE that AstraZeneca was renamed VAXZEVRIA.

It is, however, not true that the vaccine’s rollout and administration were suspended “in so many countries” due to the “high volumes of deaths and injuries” as briefly highlighted above.

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Nyakerario Omari

Nyakerario J. Omari is a Kenyan writer and journalist with a passion for in-depth stories told through documentaries. She has an interest in reporting matters concerning health, crime and human rights.