'Europe's cascade of bad decisions over AstraZeneca jab'

Sweden Temporarily Suspends Use Of AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine : Coronavirus Updates

Dr Kate O'Brien, who heads WHO's department of immunisations and vaccines, said the United Nations health agency and the European Medicines Agency are trying to investigate the possibility of a link between blood clots and the AstraZeneca shots.

The agency's expert committee is now in the process of investigating this further and is expected to reach a conclusion on the matter on Thursday (18 March) afternoon, Cooke said.

Matt Hancock has urged the British public to take the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. Anders Tegnell of the Swedish Public Health Agency said earlier on Tuesday, "The decision is a precautionary measure".

Some countries have put the brakes on the vaccine after several reports of health risks associated with the jab. Ireland announced a similar decision over the weekend.

More than 20 countries have paused AstraZeneca inoculations as a precaution after reports of blood clots in a European batch.

FILE - In this March 3, 2021 file photo, a package of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is shown in the state of Brandenburg where the first coronavirus vaccinations are given in doctors' surgeries, in Senftenberg, Germany.

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, England's deputy chief medical officer, also pointed out the potential side effects of paracetamol to demonstrate why people shouldn't worry about the jab. She added: "the number of cases of blood clots reported in this group is lower than the hundreds of cases that would be expected among the general population".

There is now no indication of a direct link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare cases of blood clotting, the European Medicine Agency (EMA) has said, although the agency is set to offer its conclusion on the matter on Thursday (18 March).

45% of Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine doses have gone unused across the European Union.

Ms Cooke's comments have been viewed by Irish health officials as favouring the continued use of the vaccine. AstraZeneca is planning to seek US government approval in the coming months. Last month, the program sent its first supply of 600,000 shots made by AstraZeneca to the African country of Ghana. Vera Etches said the city would welcome AstraZeneca vaccines to speed up mass vaccination here. The country is home to the Serum Institute of India where most of the AstraZeneca vaccine is manufactured. As of March 10, the agency had received 30 reports of blood clotting events from about five million vaccinated people. That is out of 25.6 million people who have been vaccinated in that country.

One case of a thromboembolic event is under investigation, the ministry explained. A small number of deaths have been reported.

Dr. Noni MacDonald, a professor of pediatrics at Dalhousie University and a global expert on vaccine hesitancy, said Canadians need to understand that science changes. The government is now studying the cases for a final study.

And Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha was himself injected Tuesday as his country lifted its own AstraZeneca suspension. Ford said the province would honour its commitment to people between those ages who have appointments, but it is unclear what will happen after that.

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