AstraZeneca halts COVID-19 vaccine trial at UW Hospital

MADISON, Wis. — The COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial at UW Hospital just started last week, but it’s now on hold.

AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical company that created the vaccine, made the decision to halt the trial due to a suspected serious adverse reaction to a participant in the United Kingdom.

An AstraZeneca spokesperson told health publication Stat that their standard review process triggered the pause. It’s unknown at this time what type of reaction the person had that led to the halt.

UW Health’s chief quality officer Dr. Jeff Pothoff was the first person to receive the vaccine on Wednesday. He said the next day he had mild chills and a headache, but he feels great now. He is confident in the safety profiles of this vaccine from phase 1 and 2.

“We don’t know much more at this point. All these groups, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna, they have incredible attention to safety so if there is any whisper or wisp of something that would’ve gone wrong, or sometimes it’s just related to regulatory issues. There’s so much paperwork, and the i’s dotted and t’s crossed that they would stop the trial temporarily while they figure something out,” said Pothoff.

Pothof said it is common for trials to be temporarily interrupted. As of now, AstraZeneca has not said when the trial will continue.

News 3 Now asked UW Health how many people have gotten the vaccine in Madison so far, but they were unable to provide an exact number.

UW Health has halted enrollment and people who were scheduled to get the vaccine this week were notified that their appointments were canceled.