WHO experts to review Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine Tuesday


Several European countries halt roll-outs

Dailynewsun Desk:
Vaccine safety experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) are meeting on Tuesday to review the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, after several European countries halted their roll-outs.

There have been a number of cases in Europe of blood clots developing after the vaccine was administered, reports BBC.

However, experts say the number of incidents matches the rate typically reported within the general population.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is also meeting on Tuesday. It is expected to issue its decision on the continued use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccination on Thursday.

About 17 million people in the EU and the UK have received a dose of the vaccine, with fewer than 40 cases of blood clots reported as of last week, AstraZeneca said.

Unproven claims that there might be a link have led to 11 European countries suspending use of the vaccine, including Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Other countries, including Austria, have halted the use of certain batches of the drug as a precautionary measure.

However, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic and Ukraine said they would continue to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine.

And in Thailand, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha became the first person in the country to receive the AstraZeneca inoculation.

He and other members of the Thai cabinet had been due to receive their jabs on Friday, but regulators put the roll-out on hold following the suspensions in Europe.

What has the WHO said?
The WHO says it is investigating the reports of blood clots. On Monday, a spokesman said there was “no evidence” that the incidents were linked to the vaccine.

“As soon as WHO has gained a full understanding of these events, the findings and any unlikely changes to current recommendations will be immediately communicated to the public,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said.

The EMA – which is also currently carrying out a review into incidents of blood clots – said the vaccine could continue to be administered.

The agency advises that the benefits of having the vaccine outweigh the risks of any side effects.

What does AstraZeneca say?
It says there is no evidence of an increased risk of clotting due to the vaccine.

It said that across the EU and the United Kingdom there had been 15 events of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) – a blood clot in a vein – and 22 events of pulmonary embolism – a blood clot that has entered the lungs – reported among those vaccinated.