EMA speaks on safety of AstraZeneca vaccine

Europe Update

Europe’s medicines regulator is to give an update into its investigation on whether there is a link between the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and serious blood clotting issues after multiple countries suspended its use.

Emer Cooke, Executive Director at the European Medicines Agency (EMA), is to deliver remarks at 14:00 CET. The press briefing will be played live in the video player above.

In a statement released on Monday, the EMA said it retains the view that “the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, outweigh the risks of side effects.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) also issued the same opinion on Monday with its chief scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, affirming that the rates at which blood clots have developed in people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine “are in fact less than what you would expect in the general population.

Over a dozen European countries have temporarily suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Austrian authorities were the first to issue such an order on March 7, suspending the use of a batch of the jab after a vaccinated woman died as a result of multiple thromboses — formation of blood clots within blood vessels. Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia also suspended the use of the same batch.

Last week, authorities in Denmark, Norway and Iceland suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a precautionary measure.

They were followed on Sunday and Monday by Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal and Slovenia.

Authorities in the UK, where more than 11 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab have been administered, continued to urge people to get the vaccine on Monday, underlining that “the number of blood clots reported after the vaccine is not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population.”


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