Health Care

AstraZeneca vaccine: European Union throwing 'caution to the wind' expert tells BBC Breakfast

There have been 37 reports of blood clots among some 17 million people vaccinated with AstraZeneca's shot in the United Kingdom and EU.

On Wednesday, WHO experts recommended countries continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine, but said they were looking into the jab's safety after a slew of countries suspended its use over health fears, as per an AFP report.

The WHO, the EMA and AstraZeneca itself have repeatedly said the vaccine is safe.

The EU regulator will release its findings on Thursday but its head, Emer Cooke, said she saw no reason to change its recommendation of AstraZeneca - one of four vaccines that it has approved for use.

As more European countries suspend the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine due to a potential risk of blood clotting, Moroccan authorities are waiting to confirm the cause and effect before acting further.

Kate O'Brien, director of WHO's Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, said that its vaccine safety panel was assessing whether adverse events such as blood clots were actually related to vaccination.

There is now growing hope among Government and health sources that the EMA will green light the vaccine's continued use in the bloc.

The European Medicines Agency announced Tuesday that it was "completely convinced" of the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine and recommended that it continue to be used in vaccination campaigns.

More news: These essential workers will receive AstraZeneca vaccine first in BC

"The WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety is carefully assessing the latest available safety data", the United Nations health agency said.

Government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said Wednesday that the move could "strengthen trust" in the vaccines.

"Concerns are taken seriously and examined". Such a phenomenon is not specifically linked to AstraZeneca or other COVID-19 vaccines, but to vaccines in general, Soulaymani explained.

Germany will rely on the EMA decision for how to proceed, Health Ministry spokesperson Hanno Kautz said. Italy and France have indicated they would lift suspensions if the shot is deemed safe.

Any time vaccines are rolled out widely, scientists expect some serious health issues and deaths to be reported, simply because tens of millions of people are receiving the shots. Determining whether or not the vaccine is to blame can be hard, especially since the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns are focusing for now on vulnerable people who may have other health problems.

Asked about the row over the AstraZeneca vaccine in the European Union, he revealed he has now had the call-up to get his jab.

Dr. Kim Woo-joo, infectious disease professor at Korea University, said the health authorities were repeating the same mistakes with the flu vaccines last fall by failing to communicate with the public promptly and clearly. "And this is at a time when we need to stop the virus circulating to the reduce the chances of further variants emerging". The trial group who got the best protection from the vaccine had been given an accidental dosing regimen.

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