Many countries have halted administering the AstraZeneca vaccine due to concerns over blood clots. This week European Medicines Agency declared they found no evidence the AstraZeneca vaccine increases the risk of blood clots. The executive director of the European Medicines Agency, Emer Cooke, said, “Its benefits in protecting people from COVID-19, with the associated risks of death and hospitalization outweigh the possible risks. The committee also concluded that the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of thromboembolic events or blood clots.” Following the review, Health Canada also announced that AstraZeneca vaccine benefits outweigh risks.
More than 15 European countries paused the use of AstraZeneca pending the EMA review. France, Germany, and Italy stated they would continue injections from Friday. Canadian provinces began administering 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week.
Health Canada says AstraZeneca Benefits Outweigh Risks
Late Thursday, Health Canada confirmed that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. They encouraged people to get the immunization with authorized vaccines. According to Health Canada, the AstraZeneca vaccine does not cause the risk for increased blood clots. Health Canada has not found a link to the AstraZeneca vaccine and a stroke that one individual developed following vaccination in Canada. However, Health Canada has not decided yet if they will add a warning label to the vaccine.
European Medicines Agency said there is no evidence yet to determine whether the vaccine played any role in developing rare blood clots in the brains of 18 patients who received the shots.
The chair of the agency’s Pharmacovigilance and Risk Assessment Committee, Dr. Sabine Straus, said, “The evidence we have is, at the moment, not sufficient to conclude with certainty whether these adverse events are indeed caused by the vaccine or not.”
The U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency also said the vaccine is safe and effective. However, they continue to study its speculated linkage to forming blood clots for more evidence.