Countries Should Continue AstraZeneca Rollout – WHO

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In this file photo taken on March 12, 2021 shows empty vials of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination center at the UBO (Universite Bretagne Occidentale) in Brest, western France.
The Netherlands suspends the use of AstraZeneca vaccine on March 14, 2021. Fred TANNEAU / AFP

Countries should continue using AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine, the World Health Organization said on Monday, after many governments halted rollouts because of blood clot fears.

“We do not want people to panic and we would, for the time being, recommend that countries continue vaccinating with AstraZeneca,” WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told a press briefing.

Her comments came as a growing list of nations suspended use of the vaccine, pointing to cases of blood clots in people who had received the shot, which was jointly developed with the University of Oxford.

In this file photo taken on February 12, 2021 a vial containing the Covid-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca and a syringe are seen on a table in the pharmacy of the vaccination center at the Robert Bosch hospital in Stuttgart, southern Germany.  THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP

Swaminathan stressed that no causal link had been established between the vaccine and clotting.

“So far, we do not find an association between these events and the vaccine,” she said, pointing out that some blood clot incidents among the general population were to be expected.

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When looking at those who had received the jab, the incidence is “in fact, less than what you would expect in the general population at the same time”, she said.

The UN health agency said its vaccine safety experts were looking at the AstraZeneca data.

“WHO’s advisory committee on vaccine safety has been reviewing the available data, is in close contact with the European Medicines Agency, and will meet tomorrow,” WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told Monday’s briefing.

AFP

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