• Big Blunder: More than 1500 volunteers for Oxford Covid vaccine trial given wrong dose

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    London: Documents obtained by Reuters reveal that about 1,500 of the initial volunteers in a late-stage clinical trial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine were given the wrong dose, but weren't informed that a mistake had been made after the blunder was discovered.

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    Instead, to hide the major blunder, a letter dated June 8 was presented to the volunteers saying it as an opportunity for University of Oxford researchers to learn how well the vaccine works at different doses. The letter was signed by the trial's chief investigator, Oxford professor Andrew J. Pollard, and sent to the trial subjects.

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    As Reuters reported on Dec. 24, participants were given about a half dose due to a measuring mistake by Oxford researchers. The Pollard letter didn't acknowledge any error. Nor did it disclose that researchers had reported the issue to British medical regulators, who then told Oxford to add another test group to receive the full dose, in line with the trial's original plan.

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    Much is riding on the British-developed vaccine, which is being rolled out across the UK and has been touted as a low-cost weapon against the pandemic. The jab has come under scrutiny because of the dosing error in the Oxford trial and a paucity of data about its efficacy in older people who are most vulnerable to the virus.

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