By Rachael Grealish
The Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ‘is safe and effective’ and its benefits outweigh the risks, Europe’s medicines regulator has said.
Speaking today, Thursday March 18, from Amsterdam, the director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Emer Cooke, said the agency’s safety committee had reached ‘a clear scientific conclusion’ and found the vaccine is not linked, overall, with the risk of blood clots.
The inquiry into the UK-developed vaccine came after more than a dozen European countries temporarily suspended their rollout after reports of blood clots in recipients of the jab.
Cooke did say the review uncovered ‘a small number of cases of rare and unusual but very serious clotting disorders’ which will continue to be investigated, but reiterated this vaccine is a ‘safe and effective option to protect citizens against Covid-19’.
She also went on to add the AstraZeneca jab demonstrated at least a 60 percent efficacy in preventing coronavirus disease.
The director went on to say the EMA still could not rule out ‘definitively a link between these cases and the vaccine’, and was therefore recommending to raise awareness of these possible risks, making sure that they’re included in the product information.
Over 17 million people have now received at least one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine across the UK and the EU.
The British Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) did say there have been five cases of the sinus vein thrombosis, combined with low platelets counts, in vaccine recipients in the UK and will be investigating these.
However, with such small numbers in comparison to the number of jabs given in the UK (around 11 million) there would be no need to pause the roll out of the vaccine.
A warning will be added to the leaflet when getting the jab which will include the possible signs and symptoms of concern so ‘timely action can be taken to mitigate these risks’, the EMA stated.