The World Health Organization said on Friday that there was no reason to stop using AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine after several countries suspended the launch of the blood clot fear.
The WHO, which said its Vaccine Advisory Committee examined the safety data received, stressed that no causal link had been established between the vaccine and coagulation.
The UN Health Bureau also said that after the injection of more than 260 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to date around the world, no deaths had yet been attributed to a Covid-19 jab.
Denmark, Norway and Iceland paused the use of AstraZeneca jab as a precautionary measure following isolated reports of recipients who developed blood clots.
Italy and Austria have banned the use of shots from separate batches of AstraZeneca, and Thailand and Bulgaria said they would delay the launch of the shot.
A number of health authorities around the world have insisted that it is safe, including the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the WHO.
“AstraZeneca is an excellent vaccine, as are the other vaccines used,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told reporters during a review in Geneva.
“Yes, we should continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine,” she added, stressing, however, that all safety concerns must be investigated.
“We always have to make sure we look for safety signals when we roll out vaccines, and we have to review them,” she said.
“But there is no indication not to use it.”
No causal relationship was found
The EMA said on Thursday that there had been 30 cases of so-called thromboembolic events among five million people who had contracted jab in Europe.
But European countries can still continue to use the vaccine, said the European Medicines Agency.
It is mentioned that #France’s sluggish vaccine expansion has relied heavily on #AstraZeneca. And JAB’s perceived security is crucial to the government’s strategy to go beyond the pandemic. Many health workers in France refuse AstraZeneca for themselves. # F24
– Douglas Herbert (@ dougf24) March 12, 2021
Harris said that although some countries, as a precautionary measure, have suspended the use of a specific batch of AstraZeneca vaccines distributed in Europe, based on reports of blood clotting disorders, “a causal link has not been demonstrated”.
“Vaccination against Covid-19 does not reduce deaths from other causes,” she said.
As of March 9, more than 268 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered since the start of the pandemic.
“No cause of death has been found to be caused by Covid-19 vaccines to date.”
Harris said the WHO Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, which meets at least every two weeks, systematically reviews any safety reports that come in.
“They are currently evaluating the AstraZeneca reports,” she said.
Crucial role in Covax
The AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 jab is one of only two that have so far received WHO approval.
The organization has granted AstraZeneca versions manufactured in India and South Korea in emergencies.
The only other Covid-19 vaccine with WHO green light is that produced by Pfizer / BioNTech.
A decision is expected this month on the individual Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while rulings will be made in March at the earliest in China on Sinopharm and Sinovac jabs, along with the Moderna vaccine.
AstraZeneca jab accounts for almost all doses distributed in the first wave of Covax’s global vaccine delivery system.
All vaccines distributed through the facility must first be approved by the WHO.
Approximately 238.2 million vaccine doses will be distributed to approximately 142 countries and territories by the end of May through the program, which aims to increase the availability of coronavirus jabs in poorer countries.
The plant has already sent more than 20 million doses to 20 countries.
Covax aims to distribute an additional 14.4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to 31 countries this week.