EU regulator “convinced” that benefits of AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh risks

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) remains “firmly convinced” of the benefits of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine despite several countries suspending the use of blood clot fears, the head of the regulator said on Tuesday.

“We remain firmly convinced that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine for the prevention of Covid-19 and its associated risk of hospitalization and death outweigh the risks of these side effects,” said EMA Director Emer Cooke at an online press conference.

“Currently, there is no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions. They have not come up in the clinical trials and they are not listed as known or expected side effects,” Cooke added.

Clinical trials had shown “a very small number of blood clot developments,” she added.

The Amsterdam-based EMA’s safety committee met on Tuesday to assess new information and would reach a conclusion at a special meeting on Thursday, Cooke said.

They would then “advise us if there are any further measures that need to be taken”, she said, without specifying what the measures could be.

A number of European countries, including France and Germany, suspended the use of the vaccine following reports of blood clots.

>> France unites other nations to suspend AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19

The World Health Organization’s experts will also meet on Tuesday to discuss the vaccine.

The EMA approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for people of all ages on 29 January. But the launch was worrying from the start, with several countries initially saying it should not be used on older people.

( Jowharwith AFP)