Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Emer Cooke said the agency “had come to a clear scientific conclusion: this is a safe and effective vaccine.”
Cooke said the group did not find the vaccine to cause clotting, but added that it could not definitively rule out a link to a rare blood clotting disorder, of which seven cases of 20 million doses have been reported. in the United Kingdom. But he said the benefits of using the vaccine outweighed the risk.
Most countries said they would wait for the green light from the EMA before resuming deployment, but there are still concerns about the impact of the suspensions on vaccine vaccination across the continent.
“I want to reiterate that our scientific position is this: this vaccine is a safe and effective option to protect citizens against Covid-19,” Cooke told a news conference Thursday.
“It showed that at least 60% efficacy in clinical trials and coronavirus disease prevention and, in fact, real-world evidence suggests that efficacy could be even higher than this.”
The group said it recommended releasing blood clot reports so they could be further analyzed. But they said such reports were rare and more than 7 million people have received the vaccine in the EU.
“The committee also concluded that the vaccine is not associated with an increased overall risk of thromboembolic events or blood clots,” Cooke said.
Virtually all of Western Europe had temporarily stopped using the shot in recent days, even amid a third wave of coronavirus infections across the region, after a small number of clots appeared.
Milan’s largest vaccination center told CNN it would resume vaccinations against AstraZeneca on Friday if given the green light at the EMA and would book appointments to try to make up for the shortcomings of the past few days. The Irish prime minister had previously told CNN that he hoped his country could “catch up fairly quickly” once the vaccination program resumed.
But experts fear some damage has already occurred. In France, a survey by Elabe showed this week that only 22% of the population now trusts the AstraZeneca vaccine. Remi Salomon, a senior French hospital official, told BFM TV on Thursday that “people are being too cautious” in the country and feared that “people will not interpret” the suspensions “in the right way.”
“A scare like this could increase the vaccine’s hesitation,” Michael Head, a senior global health researcher at the University of Southampton in Britain, told CNN. “These vaccines serve to protect against a pandemic virus. There is an urgency for the release.”
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