Europe’s medicines watchdog said on Tuesday (March 16) the benefits of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine continue to outweigh the risks after several countries halted its use due to concerns about blood clots.
EMA Executive Director Emer Cooke said there was no indication that the blood clot incidents, which he called “very rare” had been caused by the vaccine, but that experts were assessing that possibility.
Trust in the safety of the vaccines was paramount and the agency was carrying out a case-by-case evaluation, she said.
“While the investigation is ongoing, currently, we are still firmly convinced that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risks of hospitalisation and death, outweigh the risks,” Cooke told a news conference.
The results of its findings would be discussed during an EMA review on Thursday (March 18) after which the results would be made public, Cooke said.
Sweden and Latvia on Tuesday suspended use of the vaccine, bringing to more than a dozen the number of EU countries to act since reports first emerged of thromboembolisms affecting people after they got the AstraZeneca shot.
Other EU countries that have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab are France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.