AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine 79% effective in preventing symptomatic illness, company says

The vaccine is considered to be easy to store and cheap at $4 a dose

AstraZeneca said in a statement early Monday the Phase III trial of its COVID-19 vaccine –which was conducted in the U.S.—showed a 79% effectiveness in preventing symptomatic infections and a 100% efficacy "at preventing severe disease and hospitalization."

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The statement said that the vaccine "was well tolerated" and an independent Data Safety Monitoring Board "identified no safety concerns related to the vaccine."

Earlier this month, some European countries suspended the use of the vaccine due to fears that it could increase the risk of blood clots in the recipient. Reuters reported that these countries have resumed the use of the vaccine and health officials have worked to assure the public of its safety.

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Leaders in Europe and the U.K. have signed up to take the shot to build public confidence. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson got the jab on Friday and said that he did not feel a thing.

The Washington Post reported that the U.S. has "pre-ordered" 300 million doses of the vaccine. The vaccine is considered to be easy to store and cheap at $4 a dose, the paper said.

"This analysis validates the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as a much-needed additional vaccination option, offering confidence that adults of all ages can benefit from protection against the virus," Ann Falsey, a professor of medicine and co-lead principal investigator for the trial, said.