AstraZeneca resumes COVID-19 vaccine trials in San Francisco after months-long delay

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Enrollment for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial in San Francisco resumed on Thursday after being paused in mid-September.

Volunteers in the city have begun getting vaccinated in Phase 3 trials of the pharmaceutical company's Covid-19 vaccine.

AstraZeneca expects about 500 participants in their study will be from the Bay Area.

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San Francisco's COVID-19 vaccine trial coordinator Dr. Susan Buchbinder is the director of Bridge HIV and a UCSF professor of medicine and epidemiology. She has spent her entire 32-year career at San Francisco's Department of Public Health working on HIV vaccines and prevention - she's one of the nation's leading experts.

Dr. Buchbinder is thankful for the caution of research professionals and happy to see their work back underway. "We have a group of volunteers all lined up," Buchbinder says, "and they're all so excited."

AstraZeneca's entire study was paused worldwide in early autumn, after a vaccine trial participant became ill in the United Kingdom.

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The pharmaceutical giant now says it is safe for the Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial to resume, after passing a thorough United States Food and Drug Administration review of data.
Buchbinder explains the trial's delay was not a setback, and should reassure the public.

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"We were all so pleased that the usual checks and balances built into a study," Buchbinder remarks, "were actually being effectively used."

Dr. Buchbinder further says she has not lost confidence in AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine with the unexpected ill participant.

"It's to be expected and that's going to happen in any trial," Buchbinder explains, "It doesn't mean that it's the vaccine that caused the illness."

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