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Missteps could mar long-term credibility of AstraZeneca shot

LONDON — AstraZeneca’s repeated missteps in reporting vaccine data coupled with a blood clot scare could do lasting damage to the credibility of a shot that is the linchpin in the global strategy to stop the coronavirus pandemic, potentially even undermining vaccine confidence more broadly, experts say.

The latest stumble for the vaccine came Tuesday when American officials issued an unusual statement expressing concern that AstraZeneca had included “outdated information” when it reported encouraging results from a U.S. trial a day earlier. That may have provided “an incomplete view of the efficacy data,” according to the statement. AstraZeneca responded that the results, which showed its shot was about 79% effective, included information through Feb. 17 but appeared to be consistent with more up-to-date data.

It promised an update within 48 hours. According to a senior administration official, an independent panel that oversees the study scolded the company in a letter Monday for cherry-picking data. The board wrote to AstraZeneca and U.S. health leaders that it was concerned the company chose to use outdated and potentially misleading data instead of the most recent findings, according to the official, who discussed the contents on the condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter.

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