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European regulator says Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is ‘safe and effective’

Written by on 18/03/2021

The European Union’s medicines agency has said the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is “safe and effective” to use following an investigation into reports of blood clots in a small number of recipients.

The decision by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) comes after more than a dozen European countries – including Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, France and Sweden – halted the vaccine’s rollout over fears regarding the claims.

The EMA said the benefits outweigh the risks – and the vaccine is not linked to an overall risk of blood clots.

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Concerns about the vaccine were initially raised after a report from the Norwegian Medicines Agency revealed blood clotting events in four adults who had the COVID jab.

AstraZeneca also said after a thorough review of its COVID-19 immunisation data, that it found no evidence of any increased risk of blood clots in any age group or gender in any country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) added its weight behind the debate ahead of the EMA’s announcement, urging countries to continue using the jab.

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“As of now, we do not know whether some or all of the conditions have been caused by the vaccine or by other coincidental factors,” said Hans Kluge, the WHO’s European director.

“At this point in time, however, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine far outweigh its risks – and its use should continue, to save lives.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said there is “no reason at all” to stop the vaccine’s rollout.

It will certainly be Oxford-AstraZeneca that I will be having,” he said on Wednesday, after revealing he has been called up to have his COVID jab.

Everyone aged 50 and over in England is now being invited to book a coronavirus vaccination on the NHS website.

The temporary pause in the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine comes amid an EU exports row and a warning by ministers of a significant slowdown of the vaccination programme in the UK due to international supply issues.

 Sky News

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