A vial of the University of Oxford / AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can be seen at the Lochee Health Center in Dundee, Scotland, UK on January 4, 2021.
Andy Buchanan | Pool | Reuters
LONDON – France and Italy say they are ready to restart vaccination programs with the quick AstraZeneca Vaccine when regulators confirm that it is still safe to use.
The European Medicines Agency’s preliminary statement on Tuesday was “encouraging,” the office of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in a statement Tuesday after a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron. In the event of a positive EMA conclusion, France and Italy are ready to “immediately resume” vaccination with the vaccine.
The two countries are part of it more than a dozen who exposed the AstraZeneca-Oxford University shot after reports of blood clots in some of the vaccinated citizens.
Concerns about possible side effects of the vaccine arose last week after a woman died in Austria. Since then, more countries have reported cases of blood clots and abnormal numbers of platelets in some patients. AstraZeneca said on Sunday that of the 17 million people vaccinated in the EU and the UK, 15 events of deep vein thrombosis and 22 cases of pulmonary embolism have occurred. This is based on data received as of March 8th.
European Health authorities are still of the opinion that the shot can be used well in the fight against Covid-19. The EMA said Tuesday that there is “no evidence” that the reports of blood clots were directly caused by the vaccine.
“We still firmly believe that the benefits … outweigh the risk of these side effects,” said Emer Cooke, EMA Executive Director, at a news conference.
She confirmed that the facility will examine 30 reports of unusual blood disorders and will announce the results of that work on Thursday.
A group of EU countries including Belgium and Poland have continued to administer the AstraZeneca shot. The European countries that have suspended the vaccine are waiting for the EMA’s announcement to decide how to proceed.
In the meantime, the EMA is “concerned that this could affect vaccine confidence,” Cooke said Tuesday.
The The EU vaccination program faced various hurdles. Public doubts about the safety of vaccines could ruin the EU’s main goal of vaccinating 70% of the adult population by the end of summer.
EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said on Tuesday: “It is crucial that citizens feel they have confidence in vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency so that we can fight this virus together.” “”
As of Monday, more than 6 million EU citizens had received the AstraZeneca vaccine from more than 46 million vaccinations, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
The European Commission also called on member states on Tuesday to use every single dose of vaccine they have access to.
The ECDC data shows that more than 62 million doses have been distributed to Member States, indicating that almost 20 million doses have still been administered.