WHO's vaccine expert calls blood clots 'very rare'

Daniel Fowler
March 18, 2021

But a new agreement for Germany's IDT Biologika to help produce the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine would offer Europe greater certainty, Germany's economy minister said Monday.

The WHO and the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have also said there is no evidence the jab causes blood clots.

And on Tuesday Brussels sealed a deal to step up deliveries of 10 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, now scheduled to arrive in the European Union before July rather than in the third quarter.

On Tuesday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Canada is monitoring the situation. However, they said there is no link to the vaccine.

Addressing the weekly press briefing, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health) of the Niti Aayog on AstraZeneca vaccine, "India's group that looks at adverse effects is aware of the issue and are tracking the information available".

Therefore, the Ministry of Health made a decision to maintain the use of the Oxford/ AstraZeneca vaccine in accordance with the recommendation of the World Health Organization, the European Medicines Agency, and according to relevant data.

There have been about 37 cases, five of them fatal, out of the 17 million administered doses.

Boris Johnson said Wednesday he will be having the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine "very shortly".

Australia gives COVID-19 shots to virus-hit Papua New Guinea
Passenger flights from PNG to Cairns are suspended for two weeks, and passenger caps will be cut for flights into Brisbane. The AUSMAT team will be part of that analysis, and they will do a critical needs analysis when they arrive next week.

In the EU's largest states, including Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, AstraZeneca has accounted for about 13-15% of shots given since the rollout began nearly three months ago, with Pfizer-BioNTech making up the majority, according to official data.

Léger executive vice-president Christian Bourque said concerns about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine don't seem to be on Canadians' minds.

Romania decided last Thursday to temporarily quarantine the 4,317 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that had not been used among the 81,600 doses of the problematic batch received, but to continue the vaccination with the AstraZeneca serum from other batches. The program hopes to provide at least 2 billion shots, mainly from AstraZeneca, especially to poor countries around the world.

The comments came at a news conference detailing how a World Health Organization expert panel on vaccines recommended use of Johnson & Johnson's one-dose COVID-19 vaccine, which has already been granted an emergency use authorisation from the United Nations agency. She called that difference "not statistically significant". There have been eight deaths and four cases of serious side-effects in Italy following vaccinations, he added.

With the torrent of decisions casting doubt on the AstraZeneca vaccine despite assurances of experts, public opinion was tested once again to believe science over suspicion.

Coronavirus infections are rising exponentially in Germany, an expert at the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said, putting at risk plans to lift its lockdown.

Vaccination campaigns had got off to a slow start due to scarce supply, but the European Commission said on Tuesday it expects to receive more than 200 million doses of vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech in the second quarter, putting the EU on course to meet its targets.

France has entered "a form of third wave (of the coronavirus pandemic) characterized by numerous virus variants", Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Tuesday, stressing that his government still considers vaccination a top priority in its strategy to stem the spread of the virus.

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