World Health Organization reaffirms safety of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

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By Hebe Campbell
AstraZeneca vaccine ready to be used at the Wellcome Centre in London.
AstraZeneca vaccine ready to be used at the Wellcome Centre in London.   -   Copyright  Frank Augstein/AP

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reaffirmed that there is no link between the Oxford-Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine and blood clotting in patients.

In a fresh statement to Euronews the WHO said: "As of today, there is no evidence that the incidents are caused by the vaccine and it is important that vaccination campaigns continue so that we can save lives and stem severe disease from the virus".

"In extensive vaccination campaigns, it is normal for countries to signal potential adverse events. This does not mean that the events are linked to vaccination but it is good practice to investigate them," they added.

The European Medical Agency joined the WHO by saying the numbers of blood clotting in vaccinated people seem not to be higher than that seen in the general population.

The EMA continue to investigate reports but said on Monday "the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, outweigh the risks of side effects."

A growing number of countries have suspended the British-Swedish jab after 37 incidences of blood clots were reported days after having the vaccine.

On Monday, Germany, France, Italy and The Netherlands were the latest to follow neighbouring countries in halting it, until further investigations had been carried out.

The German Health Ministry said the decision was taken as a “precaution” and on the advice of their national vaccine regulator, which called for further investigation into the cases.

On Sunday, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca released a statement reassuring the safety of the jab and said the number of blood clots reported "is much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed COVID-19 vaccines."

"Furthermore, in clinical trials, even though the number of thrombotic events was small, these were lower in the vaccinated group. There has also been no evidence of increased bleeding in over 60,000 participants enrolled," AstraZeneca said.

The WHO also said: "As of 12 March, over 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered since the start of the pandemic. No cases of death have been found to have been caused by COVID-19 vaccines to date."

Video editor • Alessio Dellanna