April 11, 2021

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AstraZeneca vaccine: Vaccination has been halted in eleven European countries due to fears over side effects.

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Since a number of countries suspended their rollouts, vaccine safety experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) are gathering on Tuesday to review the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Following news of blood clots in certain European recipients, countries such as France and Germany said they were behaving as a precaution.

There is no proof of a connection between clots and vaccines, according to the WHO.
It also encouraged countries not to stop immunizing their people.
On Tuesday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Union’s medicines regulator, will meet. Previously, it was stated that people could choose to get the vaccine.

According to AstraZeneca, a study of 17 million individuals who got doses across Europe discovered 37 cases of blood clots.
According to experts, the number of blood clots recorded in vaccinated people is comparable to the general population.

What are European countries doing?

Germany, France, Italy, and Spain are among the countries that have temporarily stopped using the vaccine.
They announced that the rollout would be halted due to evidence of blood clots in some recipients. Blood clots are dense clumps that form in the blood, and if not treated immediately, they can be fatal. It was emphasized that this was a precautionary measure by the nations.
“This is a professional decision,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn said, adding that he was following the recommendation of the country’s vaccine institute.

But several medical experts and politicians in Germany, where infections are rising rapidly, have argued that the vaccine should be used until proven unsafe.

“AstraZeneca is the second most important vaccine for us,” said Christoph Spinner of the Technical University of Munich.

Some countries have stopped using some doses of the drug, including Austria, while Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Ukraine have said they will continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Many countries have increased controls in reaction to a spike in cases, and there are questions about the speed of Europe’s vaccination drive, which has also been plagued by shortages.

The suspension of the vaccine was described as “political” by the director general of the Italian medicines authority.
According to Nicola Magrini of the Italian daily newspaper la Repubblica, the vaccine is safe and the benefit-to-risk ratio is “widely optimistic.”

What has the WHO said?

The United Nations’ health authority said on Tuesday that it would meet to “monitor cases of unusual blood coagulation abnormalities” in people who had administered the AstraZeneca vaccine.
A spokeswoman for the company said on Monday that there was “no proof” that the injuries were related to the vaccine.
“As soon as WHO has gained a full understanding of these events, the findings and any unlikely changes to current recommendations will be immediately communicated to the public,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said.
The vaccine should be given out again, according to the EMA, which is currently undertaking an investigation of blood clot events.
The benefits of receiving the vaccine, according to the agency, outweighed the consequences of any side effects.
Proof “does not say” the vaccine triggers clots, according to the UK drugs regulator, who advised people in the country to get the vaccine when requested.

What does AstraZeneca say?

According to the manufacturer, there is no proof that the vaccine increases the chance of clotting.
It said that for those who had been vaccinated, 15 cases of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) – a blood clot in a vein – and 22 cases of pulmonary embolism – a blood clot in the lungs – had been recorded across the EU and the UK.
These estimates were “much smaller than would be predicted to occur spontaneously in a general population of this age, and are equivalent among other approved Covid-19 vaccinations,” according to the researchers.
Professor Andrew Pollard, the director of the Oxford vaccine company, which produced the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, told the BBC on Monday that there was “very reassuring evidence” that “no rise in a blood clot occurrence here in the UK, where most of the doses in Europe [have] been given so far.”

Finland has also done a “very careful study” and not found an increased risk, he added.

He said it was “absolutely critical that we don’t have a problem of not vaccinating people”.

Source: BBC