EMA official sees thrombosis link with AstraZeneca vaccine

GERMANY-HEALTH-VIRUS-VACCINES

Persistent questions on whether rare but serious blood clots among those getting the AstraZeneca jab against Covid-19 are more frequent than in the general population have undermined confidence in the beleaguered vaccine. In summary, in the next few hours, we will say that there is a link, but we still have to understand how it happens, "said Marco Cavaleri, head of the vaccine strategy at the EMA in an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero published on Tuesday".

Cavaleri's opinion is therefore not the official position of the EMA, but he added that the agency will be investigating the connection further and an announcement will be made in the coming days. "But we still do not know what causes this reaction", he said.

"We were scheduled to have received over 3 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from overseas by now, which have not arrived in Australia because of the problems with shipments that we've seen happening here and in other parts of the world", Acting Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd told Sky News.

Mr Cavaleri confirmed the benefits of having the vaccination still outweighed the risks and added: "We will go into the various age groups in more detail".

The EMA said the vaccine was not associated with an increase in the overall risk of blood clots, but may be associated with clots linked to very rare condition involving low levels of blood platelets (thromocytopenia).

Investigations are underway to determine if the rare syndrome is a side effect from the AstraZeneca vaccine or just a coincidence.

Of the 18.1 million people who have had the Oxford vaccine in the United Kingdom, 30 people have developed blood clots. Should the United Kingdom government restrict access to AstraZeneca, the speed of their vaccine rollout could be greatly slowed down.

The EMA was already expected to provide an updated assessment this week.

The UK's health agency has identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events out of 18.1 million doses of the jab administered up to and including 24 March.

After several countries suspended the use of the jab - including Italy - the EMA declared that the benefits outweigh the risks and it should remain in use.

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