AstraZeneca declared SAFE by EU regulator as 13 member states suspend use of UK vaccine

AstraZeneca: Expert says suspension could 'dent confidence'

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It comes after 13 member states suspended the use of the Oxford-produced jab after a number of people were reported to have developed blood clots after receiving it. But the European Medicines Agency (EMA) insisted the positive benefits of the vaccine outweighed “the risk of side effects”. It said there was no evidence to suggest the vaccine was the cause of the conditions.

And it added the number of cases after receiving a jab “seems not to be higher than seen in the general population”.

The bloc’s drugs watchdog is expected to declare the AstraZeneca jab safe when it publishes an official safety recommendation on Thursday.

The EMA said in a statement: “Several authorities responsible for national vaccine campaigns in EU countries have temporarily paused vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

“This is a precaution taken in the light of their national situation while EMA investigates a number of events of blood clots in people who had received the vaccine, as previously reported.

“Events involving blood clots, some with unusual features such as low numbers of platelets, have occurred in a very small number of people who received the vaccine.

“Many thousands of people develop blood clots annually in the EU for different reasons.

“The number of thromboembolic events overall in vaccinated people seems not to be higher than that seen in the general population.

“EMA is working closely with the company, with experts in blood disorders, and with other health authorities including the UK’s MHRA based on its experience with around 11 million administered doses of the vaccine.

“EMA’s investigation has been continuing over the weekend, and rigorous analysis of all the data related to thromboembolic events will be carried out in the coming days.

“Experts are looking in great detail at all the available data and clinical circumstances surrounding specific cases to determine whether the vaccine might have contributed or if the event is likely to have been due to other causes.”

French President Emmanuel Macron said his country would suspend the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccines until the EMA publishes fresh data tomorrow afternoon.

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German health minister Jens Spahn announced similar plans after the country’s vaccine regulator called for further investigations into the jab.

Italy’s medicines watchdog has also halted the rollout of the Oxford jab.

AstraZeneca said there have been 37 reports of blood clots out of more than 17 million people having been vaccinated with its jab across the EU and UK.

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AstraZeneca: Ireland suspends Covid-19 vaccine

Mr Spahn said: “Today’s decision is a purely precautionary measure

“The most important thing for confidence is transparency.”

The Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Austria, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Spain and Estonia have also paused their rollouts.

The EU is sitting on a stockpile of almost eight million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, administering half of the jabs delivered by the Anglo-Swedish firm.

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