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AstraZeneca jab pause 'will definitely increase vaccine hesitancy'

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Vial of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua in Sokolov, Czech Republic, Tuesday
Vial of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua in Sokolov, Czech Republic, Tuesday   -   Copyright  Frank Augstein/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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Moves across Europe to pause vaccinations with the AstraZeneca jab will increase vaccine hesitancy, a UK doctor has told Euronews.

Around 17 countries have halted the use of the vaccine as a precautionary measure amid reports of blood clots.

The European Medicines Agency said on Tuesday it is convinced the benefits of the jab outweigh its risks, a view shared by the World Health Organization. No direct link has been established between the vaccine and blood clots.

"We have already seen a problem before now with vaccine hesitancy, but it [the halt] will definitely increase that, and the way we discuss what is going on and reassure people about what is going on is very important," Dr William Budd, a clinical research physician at Imperial College London, told Euronews.

"Antivaxers may use this to push their own agenda which is dangerous if they are trying to stop people getting the vaccine, which saves lives."

Dr Budd worked on the AstraZeneca trials in the UK. He said if any serious reports of blood clots had emerged then the vaccine would not have been approved by WHO or the EMA.

"It's important for people to not get bogged down with people that are spreading misinformation and to get it [information] from official sources," he added.