Wednesday, 05 May, 2021


Oxford professor seeks to reassure public over AstraZeneca Covid vaccine

Korea to vaccinate 12 million against COVID-19 by June, says minister Coronavirus Northern Ireland: One further death and 121 new cases reported
Noah Ferguson | 15 March, 2021, 20:51

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is safe and Canadians should have no concerns about receiving it, after almost a dozen European countries suspended its use over concerns about blood clots.

The drugmaker said there has been 15 cases of deep vein thrombosis and 22 of pulmonary embolism in that group up to last week.

Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Iceland and Thailand have all temporarily suspended their use of the AstraZeneca jab.

However, the incidence of blood clots in the general population is common, says Anne Gulland, The Telegraph's Deputy Global Health Editor, adding that "all of the experts globally are saying there's no link between an increased risk of blood clotting and the AstraZeneca vaccine".

"But given the large number of doses administered, and the frequency at which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause", a spokesperson said.

The people affected by the suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be healthcare workers and the category of people aged 16-69 who have high-risk conditions, category 4, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told RTÉ's Morning Ireland today.

European Medicines Agency has said there is no indication that the events were caused by the vaccination, a view that was echoed by the World Health Organisation on Friday.

Some doctors pointed out that since vaccination campaigns started by giving doses to the most vulnerable people, those now being immunized are more likely to already have health problems.

Denmark was the first country to halt its use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine last week after reports of blood clots in some people, including one person who developed multiple clots and died 10 days after receiving at least one dose.

The EMA on Thursday advised that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks, and did not recommend suspending its use while investigation into thromboembolic events are ongoing. "That's how we get through this as quickly as possible and as safely as possible".

"We have made huge progress in the United Kingdom in relation to the vaccine, so it is important that people continue to do that so we can leave lockdown in the rearview mirror and we can move on with our lives".

Italy and Austria have stopped using certain batches of the drug as a precautionary measure.

"The European Union has taken clear commitments with pharmaceutical companies and we expect they will be respected", Draghi said. The shots are considered experimental because the vaccines were only developed in the a year ago, so there is no long-term data for any of them.

Prof McConkey said getting regular exercise is a good way of preventing clots, for people who may have taken the vaccine and are anxious about this latest development. In addition, there were four reports of severe blood clots or brain hemorrhage, including one death, in younger people.

The U.K. has administered more than 25 million vaccine doses - many of those being the Astra shot - without raising any alarms over clotting.

The NIAC made its recommendation following a notification from the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) on Saturday of a new safety alert regarding the vaccine.

In a March 7 YouGov survey, perceptions in European Union countries of the safety of the shot from Astra and the University of Oxford were lower compared with vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE, and Moderna Inc.

"There were some of these very serious ones but they seemed very scattered and rare and there were other things that may have explained it as well".

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