Nearly a dozen countries, from Indonesia to France, start using COVID vaccine again, as EMA, WHO and UK agencies allay fears over clot reports blood.
Nearly a dozen countries resumed use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 injections on Friday as European Union and UK regulators said the benefits outweighed any risks after reports of rare cases of blood clotting which temporarily interrupted the inoculations.
The end of the suspensions will launch a test of public confidence, both in the shooting range and in drug regulators whose findings are under unprecedented scrutiny, as virus variants spread and numbers worldwide deaths, now at nearly 2.7 million, is increasing.
Indonesia has joined with Germany, France and others in re-administering vaccines after suspending vaccinations following reports of around 30 cases of rare brain blood clots, after millions of ‘injections, which prompted scientists and governments to scramble to determine if there was a link.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) came to what it called a clear conclusion on Thursday that the vaccine’s benefits for protecting people from coronavirus-related death or hospitalization outweighed the possible risks.
Nonetheless, the EMA said that a link between rare events of blood clots in the brain and shooting could not be definitively ruled out and that it would continue its careful review, with the Medicines and Products Regulatory Agency. United Kingdom Health (MHRA).
“This is a safe and effective vaccine,” EMA director Emer Cooke said in a briefing Thursday. “If it was me, I would be vaccinated tomorrow.”
“ It is the virus that we are fighting, not the vaccines ”
The EMA said it will update its vaccine guidelines to include an explanation for patients about potential risks and information for healthcare professionals, to help people recognize when they might have need to seek medical assistance after vaccination.
After the EMA’s decision, others also sought to build confidence in AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is viewed as an important asset around the world due to its relatively easy storage and transport requirements and its inexpensive price, compared to mRNA vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna.
“What we should really be focusing on is it’s incredibly reassuring. The processes are working, the safety oversight that we all expect from our authorities is ongoing, ”Andrew Pollard, who heads the Oxford Vaccine Group, told BBC Radio, after the two regulators said vaccinations could run out. continue after reports of blood clots.
“We have to continue to monitor security, but at the end of the day, it is the virus that we are fighting, not the vaccines.”
The University of Oxford is in partnership with AstraZeneca on the vaccine.
Germany, France and Italy lift suspensions
Germany resumed administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Friday morning, while French Prime Minister Jean Castex said he would seek to promote a similar recovery in his country by getting the vaccine himself on Friday.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Italy would follow suit, echoing the sentiments of Cyprus, Latvia and Lithuania.
Spain will resume vaccinations from Wednesday. Canada has also provided support for the vaccine.
The MHRA is investigating five cases of a rare cerebral blood clot that had been reported out of 11 million shots administered in the UK.
He said he would investigate reports of clots in the cerebral veins (sinus vein thrombosis or CSVT) occurring with low platelets soon after vaccination. But the agency said use of the vaccine is expected to continue and an official said the UK rollout is unlikely to stop even if a link is proven.
The drugmaker’s own review of more than 17 million people who have been injected in the EU and UK found no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.
The World Health Organization, which also this week reaffirmed its support for the vaccine which remains a centerpiece of its COVAX vaccine sharing program, plans to take stock on Friday on its own assessment of its vaccine advisory committee.