Several countries have suspended the vaccine
The director of the Oxford Vaccine Group on Monday said there was no link between the vaccine it developed with AstraZeneca and blood clotting in people who got vaccinated against coronavirus after several countries suspended its use.
Andrew Pollard said there was “reassuring evidence that there has not been an increase in a blood clot phenomenon here in the UK, where most of the doses in Europe been given so far”.
“It’s absolutely critical that we don’t have a problem of not vaccinating people and have the balance of a huge risk, a known risk of Covid, against what appears so far from the data that we’ve got from the regulators–no signal of a problem,” he told BBC radio, reported AFP.
Ireland and the Netherlands on Sunday became the latest countries to suspend their use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine out of precaution.
There is no need for countries to stop using the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine over blood clot fears, the World Health Organization had said Saturday.
The WHO says its vaccines advisory committee is examining the safety data coming in but stressed that no causal link has been established between the AstraZeneca vaccine and clotting, reported AFP.
India–whose Serum Institute is manufacturing and supplying the AstraZeneca shot to middle and low-income countries through COVAX–says it will carry out a deeper review of post-vaccination side effects next week. Government officials have reportedly said no cases of blood clots have been reported so far.
Many countries recently suspended the vaccine after reports emerged of people developing blood clots post-vaccination.
Bulgaria put vaccination on hold after a woman died on Friday hours after receiving the vaccine. The Italian Medicines Agency on Thursday banned the use of batch ABV2856 of the vaccine in Italy after reports of some “serious adverse events”.
At least 12 European countries and Thailand have paused their campaigns until further safety information becomes available.
The European Medicines Agency is investigating the reported side effects.
Thailand is the first country in Asia to suspend the vaccine. The country’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and other government officials were supposed to receive the AstraZeneca shot Friday morning, but the event was postponed.
“To slow down or to pause vaccinations to investigate is a common medical practice,” said Anutin Charnviraku, the country’s deputy prime minister and health minister, on Facebook. He added that the government’s vaccine management committee had taken action to ensure “the maximum safety of the public”.
The EMA released a statement on its investigation on Thursday. It said that as of March 10, there were 30 reported cases of thromboembolic events (blood clots) in around five million people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“There is currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions, which are not listed as side effects with this vaccine,” the statement added.
“The position of EMA’s safety committee PRAC is that the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks and the vaccine can continue to be administered while investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing.”
This story was first published on March 13, 4:17pm.