European Union regulator 'convinced' AstraZeneca vaccine benefit outweighs risk

Emer Cooke executive director of the European Medicines Agency

At least 20 European countries have fully or partially suspended the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine following reports of suspected deaths from blood clots after vaccination, which prompted the European Medicines Agency (EMA)'s investigation and the World Health Organization (WHO)'s safety review.

AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine shot is safe and there is no evidence of health risks, the UK's health minister wrote in a newspaper article published on Wednesday, after some European Union countries halted rollouts over fears of blood clots.

"There is no evidence that vaccines caused these clots", Hancock wrote in The Sun, stressing that the jab had the backing of the EMA, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Britain's medicine's regulator.

But health experts say neither are surprising during a highly unusual vaccine rollout involving mass vaccination on a global scale and multiple vaccines.

AstraZeneca has said there is no evidence of an increased risk of clotting due to the vaccine.

In addition, the Greek authorities made a decision to continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine in the country as originally scheduled, the official news agency AMNA reported on Tuesday.

New data has led to new advice about AstraZeneca's vaccines being safe for Canadian seniors, but it is not expected to make a significant difference to Alberta's vaccine rollout.

A medical staff member displays the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site set up in the Marseille soccer Velodrome stadium, during a presentation to the media, in Marseille, March 15, 2021. The vaccine costs much less than those from Pfizer and Moderna. Last month, the program sent its first supply of 600,000 shots made by AstraZeneca to the African country of Ghana.

Sweden Temporarily Suspends Use Of AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine : Coronavirus Updates

AstraZeneca's shot, among the cheapest available, was billed as the vaccine of choice for poorer nations and the clot reports have had an impact beyond Europe. Results of one released by Ipsos in January found just 40 per cent of French adults meant to be vaccinated against Covid-19, making the country the most vaccine-sceptic in the world.

Health officials reported that over 23.4 million people have received the AstraZeneca shot in India.

Late on Monday, Romanian health authorities decided "to continue the vaccination campaign in Romania with all the vaccines against COVID-19 now authorized at the European level".

"The second point that is of importance to us: we will reflect on whether exports to countries who have higher vaccination rates than us are still proportionate".

In Thailand, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha received his first of the two-shot AstraZeneca vaccine. A small number of deaths have been reported.

"But it could be the case that the risks of the vaccine are higher for certain patient groups such as young women", Lauterbach, an epidemiologist whose party is part of the Berlin coalition, told Deutschlandfunk radio in an interview. The same can not be said of President Emmanuel Macron - an increasingly confrontational European Union power player who has little interest in promoting the products of Brexit Britain, no matter how important they are to defeating Covid-19.

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