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Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is safe, say EU, UK regulators after reports of blood clots

Pharmacy Technician Katrina Bonwick draws a does of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ready for use at the Wheatfield surgery in Luton, England, Thursday, March 18, 2021. The world is awaiting the results of an initial European investigation into whether there is any evidence that the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine was behind unusual blood clots reported in some recipients of the shot. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) (AP)Premium
Pharmacy Technician Katrina Bonwick draws a does of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ready for use at the Wheatfield surgery in Luton, England, Thursday, March 18, 2021. The world is awaiting the results of an initial European investigation into whether there is any evidence that the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine was behind unusual blood clots reported in some recipients of the shot. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) (AP)

  • The European Medicines Agency said it is safe and effective and the benefits outweigh the risks
  • The EMA reviewed case reports from Germany and Norway, among others, to determine whether the problems were caused by the vaccine or whether the timing was a coincidence

AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine is safe to use, said the European Union’s drug regulator on Thursday giving the bloc an opportunity to try to turn around its lagging inoculation campaign after months of disarray, as per a Bloomberg report.

The European Medicines Agency said it is safe and effective and the benefits outweigh the risks.

However, can't completely rule out a link between the vaccine and blood clots, and will investigate further, it further said.

SomEuropean countries said they would not use the vaccine after several reports emerged of blood clots and brain hemorrhages in people who had received the vaccine.

Following this, the EMA reviewed case reports from Germany and Norway, among others, to determine whether the problems were caused by the vaccine or whether the timing was a coincidence. They also compared the patients’ medical profiles, seeking similarities that may point to certain people being at higher risk of clots.

While governments said they were ready to resume once they got positive EMA guidance, the question remains if the suspensions did irreparable damage to the reputation of the vaccine and if people will get the shots in sufficient numbers to curb the spread of the virus.

Earlier on Thursday, the U.K.’s drugs regulator weighed in on Astra’s shot, saying the benefits continue to outweigh the risks and people “should still go and get their Covid-19 vaccine when asked to do so."

The Astra vaccine is one of four approved in the EU. The bloc expects 360 million deliveries from all providers in the second quarter, almost four times as many as this quarter.

(With inputs from agencies)

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