More EU Countries to Suspend AstraZeneca Rollout
Two more European countries have backpedaled on their rollout of coronavirus vaccine amid concerns that the jabs have caused blood clots to vaccinated individuals.
Sweden and Latvia reportedly announced on Tuesday that they were suspending their vaccination using AstraZeneca, shots that were developed by the pharmaceutical giant with the University of Oxford.
Austria was the first to announce the suspension of vaccine rollout last week after a 49-year-old inoculated woman died.
Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, and Slovenia have on Monday followed suit to give more time for a reassessment of its side effects.
So far, 13 European Union members have taken the same decision, while a few more countries have stopped using individual batches of the jabs.
For its part, the European Medicine Agency (EMA), Europe’s health regulator, said that AstraZeneca’s benefits still outweigh the risks. However, it would further review the information in an “extraordinary meeting” on Thursday.
“At present, there is no indication that the vaccination has caused these conditions,” said EMA director Emer Cooke.
“The benefits continue to outweigh the risks but this is a serious concern and it does need serious and detailed scientific evaluation. This is what we are involved in at the moment,” she added.
Cooke said that the regulator was worried that the case may have an effect on the trust of the vaccines, but assured that it would ensure the products authorized are safe.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization urged the continued use of the AstraZeneca jabs, earning praises from other countries.
For his part, Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said that pausing the rollout would be “irresponsible,” while authorities in the Czech Republic said they would continue with the vaccination program.
Other developed countries such as Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom have rallied the support of AstraZeneca.
Based on the report quoting the European Center for Disease and Prevention Control, European countries have so far administered 6 million AstraZeneca shots.
The firm said over the weekend that there have only been 15 events of deep vein thrombosis and 22 instances of pulmonary embolism, out of the 17 million people vaccinated within the EU and in the UK.
“This is much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed Covif-19 vaccines,” AstraZeneca said.
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