Despite rare blood clot fears, European Union backs continued use of AstraZeneca vaccine

Grant Boone
April 1, 2021

The same option will be available to anyone who gets the shot at their GP, which will start to become possible later this month.

"It's about weighing the risk of a side effect that is statistically small, but needs to be taken seriously, and the risk of falling ill with corona", Spahn said.

These changes are "intended to scale up production capacity and increase supply of the vaccine for the European Union market", the regulator said.

'A causal link with the vaccine is not proven, but is possible and further analysis is continuing, ' added the EMA.

Many European countries briefly stopped using AstraZeneca's vaccine earlier this month while investigating rare cases of blood clots.

Taking note of the timeline during yesterday's virtual news conference held by the Health Ministry, Parasram said the ministry will make a decision whether to utilise all 33,600 doses for the first shot and wait for a second delivery of vaccines from COVAX to administer the second dose to recipients.

Germany's medical regulatory body - the Paul Ehrlich Institute - said that the majority of the 31 cases involved women aged 20 to 63 years, with only two men aged between 36 to 57 years affected.

In a statement, AstraZeneca said it was analyzing the tens of millions of records for people who received its vaccine "to understand whether these very rare cases of blood clots ... occur any more commonly than would be expected naturally population of millions of people".

That's out of 269 total cases reported from a dozen countries, including about 40 deaths, the regulator said.

Robinson says the association was given advance warning from health officials about the rollout plan and is prepared.

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By Monday, some 13.2 million people in the country had received at least one dose of vaccine, while almost 4 million had received both shots.

The company's vaccine is also under scrutiny as a few cases of blood clots subsequent to their vaccine's injection were discovered.

In Canada, health authorities have also suspended use of the vaccine for those under the age of 55, due to the blood clot concerns.

Canada's procurement minister also provided an update on when the country could expect to see Johnson & Johnson vaccine shipments.

Some concerns have been raised over the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, as it is less effective than the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines, which have a high rate of prevention against COVID-19.

"We were asked to step up in a quick way and we've certainly done that", she said Wednesday. Alice Assinger, a specialist in vascular diseases and blood clot research at the Medical University of Vienna, said there is a treatment for the rare clots.

While he said it is not up to him who is approved for the vaccine and who isn't, he doesn't think stopping vaccinations is the right decision.

Thinking about the dangers we face each day, driving a auto on a busy highway, riding a bicycle in major cities, they are far greater risks than the clotting issue associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, he said.

Germany's vaccination campaign has been sluggish, with official figures showing around 11 percent of the population have received a first dose so far.

"It may be that we should re-assign vaccine that was meant for them in the strict age-based approach to other people who are younger and in the transmission chains". So far, it has only been vaccinating people aged over 70 and those in high priority groups.

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