Thursday, May 13, 2021
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European countries to resume using AstraZeneca jab after regulator’s ruling

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A host of European countries have announced they will resume using the AstraZeneca vaccine after the continent’s regulator concluded it was “safe and effective”.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the country will begin vaccinating people again with the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine from Friday, while Italy expects to start on the same day.

Germany has also said it will return to administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab on Friday, following the European Medicines Agency (EMA) pronouncement.

Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands said they will follow suit next week, although Spain said it could exclude certain groups.

The EMA has said it “cannot rule out definitively” a link between “a small number of cases of rare and unusual but very serious blood clotting disorders” and the vaccine, though investigations were ongoing.

Emer Cooke, EMA executive director, said this situation was not unexpected, adding that “when you vaccinate millions of people” such reports of rare events will occur.

But the EMA has concluded there is no overall increase in the risk of blood clots with the vaccine, and in fact it is likely to reduce the overall risk of clots.

Ms Cooke, who said she would personally take the vaccine, told a press briefing: “The committee has come to a clear scientific conclusion.

“This is a safe and effective vaccine. Its benefits in protecting people from Covid-19, with the associated risks of death and hospitalisation, 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.”

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