Global vaccination coverage remains indispensable in combatting the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Safety, efficacy, and durability of immune protection are the key parameters of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and are essential for vaccine approvals, global distribution, and comprehensive population-vaccination programs. Immune protection from either vaccination or natural infection decreases over time, further challenged by rapid viral evolution. In this issue of the JCI, Sobieszczyk and colleagues report an update on the safety, efficacy, and durability of immune protection of AZD12222 in a large-scale, multinational, Phase III RCT. They report that protection lasted through 6 months, with immunity waning after 180 days. The study also highlights challenges facing vaccine trials, including the need for early unblinding for vulnerable participants, which may affect outcome measurements. Another challenge is to ensure fair representation of marginalized and minority ethnic groups in vaccine safety and efficacy studies worldwide.
Ranjeet Singh Mahla, Lynn B. Dustin