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French President Emmanuel Macron visits a hospital near Paris. Photo: Yoan Valat/AFP via Getty

Long-awaited data from the Oxford/AstraZeneca U.S. trial suggests the vaccine is safe, 79% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, and fully effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

Yes, but: The suspension of the vaccine in at least 13 countries due to blood-clotting concerns has severely damaged the shot’s reputation in Europe, with majorities in France (61%), Germany (55%) and elsewhere now deeming it unsafe, according to a YouGov poll.

Driving the news: The rollout has resumed in most of Europe (Nordic countries are holding off), but it’s unclear how successful it can be when so few people appear prepared to take it.

  • It could be even more damaging if that lack of faith spreads to developing countries, where AstraZeneca's vaccine is the most widely available option.

The state of play: Leaders in Brussels are currently more worried about supply than demand. They’re considering blocking some exports to the U.K. on the grounds that the U.K. is importing doses produced on the continent but not reciprocating.

  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is lobbying his EU counterparts against a potential ban, and Pfizer has warned that banning exports could weaken supply chains.

Between the lines: The U.K. signed a contract with AstraZeneca that called for doses produced in Britain to stay there, much as the U.S. did with several drugmakers.

  • The EU, meanwhile, is exporting around 40% of the doses it produces, with the U.K. receiving the most.
Expand chart

What to watch: Brussels’ emphasis on “equitable distribution” is fading amid a brutally slow rollout and rising case counts.

  • Not only are export bans under consideration, but European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday that plans to donate doses to poorer countries are on hold until the EU’s domestic picture improves.

The supply shortfalls in Europe have led to a debate over another somewhat controversial vaccine: Russia's Sputnik V.

  • Why it matters: The latest data suggests the vaccine is safe and highly effective, and Russia wants to sell it all over the world — particularly within the EU. Several member states want to buy it, and some are prepared to help produce it.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she'd be willing to go it alone to order Sputnik V if approved by regulators even if there was no common European decision on using it.

The big picture: Having an effective state-funded vaccine could be a diplomatic coup for Moscow, but Russia lags behind the other major players in terms of manufacturing capacity and so is working to cut production deals around the world.

What they're saying: “We have absolutely no need of Sputnik V,” Thierry Breton, the head of the EU's vaccine task force said on Sunday.

  • He argued that the bloc was on pace to have sufficient capacity by the end of June using EU-made vaccines — likely long before enough Sputnik V would be available to make a meaningful difference.
  • The other side: The vaccine's developers called Breton "clearly biased against the Sputnik V vaccine just because it is Russian,” adding, “Biases lead to failures. And Breton’s failures are clear to many people in EU."

The latest: Meanwhile in Slovakia, Prime Minister Igor Matovic has said he's prepared to resign after announcing the purchase of Sputnik doses without the backing of his coalition partners.

Go deeper: Biden's vaccine diplomacy challenge.

Go deeper

Complaint to FTC: Amazon search results full of potentially deceiving ads

Photo: Nigel Kirby/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Amazon does not sufficiently distinguish between its search results and paid ads, potentially "deceiving millions of consumers," according to a complaint filed to the Federal Trade Commission.

Why it matters: Joan Moriarty, research director for the Strategic Organizing Center, a coalition of labor unions that filed the complaint, told the Washington Post the group is "very hopeful" that the FTC will investigate the complaint because Lina Khan (D), a known Amazon critic, is now chair.

4 hours ago - Health

Pfizer-BioNTech: Booster doses more effective at blocking Omicron

Prepared doses of the BioNtech-Pfizer Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Germany on Dec. 7. Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that two doses of their COVID-19 vaccine were significantly less effective at neutralizing the Omicron variant in early lab tests, but a three-dose regimen was more effective.

Why it matters: Omicron, which has been labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization after being identified by scientists in South Africa last month, has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines against this specific new form of coronavirus.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden unveils "Building a Better America" branding

President Biden speaks on infrastructure while visiting a bridge in Woodstock, N.H., last month. Photo: John Tully/Getty Images

President Biden today launched a new website and unveiled bold new branding as part of a nationwide tour to sell the benefits of his infrastructure package.

Why it matters: The White House says passage of the new law shows the ability to "forge bipartisan consensus and prove our democracy can deliver big wins" even in these toxic times.