Wednesday, 05 May, 2021


Europe's medicine regulator backs World Health Organization assessment, says AstraZeneca vaccine is safe

The furore around the Astra Zeneca jab has marred the global vaccine drive and comes as several countries report spikes in new cases The furore around the Astra Zeneca jab has marred the global vaccine drive and comes as several countries report spikes in new cases
Conrad Doyle | 18 March, 2021, 07:42

The statement, which Morocco World News received a copy of, recalled that a number of Western countries suspended the use of the Oxford/ AstraZeneca vaccine following the emergence of the risk of blood clots in a few patients.

Cooke said that an EMA evaluation of individual incidents is ongoing.

"We have one of the toughest and most experienced regulators in the world", Johnson said.

The head of the Amsterdam-based company, Emer Cooke insisted that the "benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, outweigh the risks of side effects". Anders Tegnell of the Swedish Public Health Agency said earlier on Tuesday, "The decision is a precautionary measure".

Matt Hancock urged the British public to take the vaccine even after countries including France, Spain and Germany suspended it.

About 17 million people have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca in the European Union and the United Kingdom, with fewer than 40 cases of blood clots reported.

Other epidemiologists note that similar cases have not been found in unusual numbers in Britain, which began using AstraZeneca earlier and has given more than 10 million doses.

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, England's deputy chief medical officer, also pointed out the potential side effects of paracetamol to demonstrate why people shouldn't worry about the jab.

So far, the rate of blood clots among AstraZeneca vaccine recipients appears to be comparable to that of the general population.

On Tuesday, European and global health officials said there is no evidence those cases of blood clots are related to the vaccine, but any potential adverse events should be investigated.

The difficulty of the decision was clear in Thailand, the first country outside Europe to temporarily suspend use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, only to recant on Tuesday - when its prime minister received a dose.

AstraZeneca's shot, among the cheapest available, was billed as the vaccine of choice for poorer nations and the clot reports have had an impact beyond Europe. AstraZeneca is planning to seek US government approval in the coming months. It also does not require extreme cold storage making it easier to use in countries with limited resources.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in an increasing number of countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines. Last month, the program sent its first supply of 600,000 shots made by AstraZeneca to the African country of Ghana. Results of one released by Ipsos in January found just 40 per cent of French adults meant to be vaccinated against Covid-19, making the country the most vaccine-sceptic in the world.

"There are people who have concerns", Prayuth Chan-ocha said after getting the shot. Health officials told the Press Trust of India news agency on Saturday that 234 cases of adverse events had been reported after receiving any vaccine.

"We have no proof these cases were caused by the vaccine". The government is now studying the cases for a final study.

And Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha was himself injected Tuesday as his country lifted its own AstraZeneca suspension. The same can not be said of President Emmanuel Macron - an increasingly confrontational European Union power player who has little interest in promoting the products of Brexit Britain, no matter how important they are to defeating Covid-19.

Hai Do wrote this report for VOA Learning English.

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