CLEVELAND — The race for a coronavirus vaccine is moving backward. At least for AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The duo is hitting pause on their phase three trial to investigate a patient that had a possible adverse side effect.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to be a rapid process we have to chip away at it and be realistic,” said Dr. David Canaday, Associate Director of Research at the Cleveland VA Medical Center of the Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center and Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.
The VA Medical Center is hosting a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial. It anticipates enrolling nearly 100 veterans. Canaday says like many other companies, they’re doing things by the book.
“We don’t want to rush the process,” Canaday said. “No vaccine makers want to be the one that hurt a bunch of you know older folks in a nursing home or heard a bunch of kids or heard a bunch of you know young adults getting a vaccine and having them get side effects.”
Steve Tirrel, a North Canton business owner, is also part of Pfizer's trial. He says he's not bothered by AstraZeneca's setback.
“You’re going to have some weird stuff that pops up that doesn’t mean it’s connected and that’s what they need to figure out,” he said. “I’ve already had it so it’s too late to change my mind anyhow.”
We first spoke with Tirrel after he got his first injection in Columbus earlier this month. He received his second just 10 days ago.
“I had probably about the same mild side effects that I had on the first one.”
He says he’s happy about the rush for a vaccine and a possible return to normalcy.
But Canaday warns, too much of a rush could be dangerous.
“In the long run it will backfire,” he said.
So far, the CEOs of nine bio-pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and AstraZeneca, pledged to make safety their top priority when developing a vaccine.