AstraZeneca said Monday that the results of its COVID-19 vaccine trials provide evidence that its shot provides “100% efficacy against severe or critical disease and hospitalization.”  AstraZeneca said in a statement that the safety and efficacy analysis was based on 32,449 participants in U.S. trials. “Vaccine efficacy was consistent across ethnicity and age. Notably, in participants aged 65 years and over, vaccine efficacy was 80%,” the statement said.  “The vaccine was well tolerated, and the independent data safety monitoring board (DSMB) identified no safety concerns related to the vaccine,” AstraZeneca said.  The U.S. trials also show the AstraZeneca COVID shot is safe and 79% effective against preventing symptomatic coronavirus, according to Britain’s University of Oxford, the developers of the pharmaceutical company’s vaccine.  Several European countries had recently stopped use of the AstraZeneca vaccine because of reports that it was associated with blood clots in recipients. The European Medicines Agency (EMA), however, said the vaccine is safe and does not raise the overall risk of blood clots.Last week, France, Germany and Italy resumed use of the vaccine.FILE – A member of the medical staff holds a vial of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine at the South Ile-de-France Hospital Group in Melun, in the outskirts of Paris, Feb. 8, 2021.The World Health Organization (WHO) has subsequently recommended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against variants of the coronavirus. It has also said it considers that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh its risks.South Africa stopped using the shot due to concerns about its efficacy against a local variant of the virus. The country sold at least a million of its AstraZeneca COVID vaccines to the African Union.   The doses sold to the AU will be distributed among 14 African countries. South Africa is now using the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson products.The AstraZeneca vaccine has been the leading choice for the developing world.According to the Associated Press, the AstraZeneca vaccine has been authorized in more than 50 countries. In the United States, vaccines by Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson are in use.The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center has recorded more than 123.2 million worldwide coronavirus infections and 2.7 million deaths. The U.S. has the most infections with more than 29 million confirmed cases and 542,000 deaths.

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