European Medicines Agency official links AstraZeneca vaccine and thrombosis


National Vaccination Committee President Maria Theodoridou advised calm ahead of the European Medicines Agency's upcoming assessment on whether the AstraZeneca vaccine is associated with the development of thrombosis and thrombocytopenia.

Marco Cavaleri, head of vaccines strategy at the EMA, told Italy's Il Messaggero newspaper that he believes there is a "clear" link between the vaccine and rare cases of blood clots reported in people who recently received the jab. He implied the link would be confirmed by the agency in the coming hours.

He said that "we still do not know what causes this reaction", as reports accumulate of people across the world experiencing blood clots after receiving the jab developed by British-Swedish drug company AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

A number of countries have imposed restrictions on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, especially in younger adults.

But, when asked if the incidence of rare blood clots can be linked directly to the vaccine, Mr Cavaleri replied: "In my opinion we can now say it - it is clear there is an association with the vaccine".

Today's news contrasts starkly with the EMA's statement that was published on March 11, which stated that AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine showed no direct links to blood clots.

Still, countries are counting on the shot to help them exit the pandemic, and millions of doses have been administered across the region.

Mr Cavaleri said they are still trying to understand where exactly this link comes from.

At the time, the EMA had pointed out that it would be carrying out more reviews of the vaccine's effects as time went on, and this latest update goes to show it's sticking to its word.

Investigations are underway to determine if the rare syndrome is a side effect from the AstraZeneca vaccine or just a coincidence.

Several EU countries including France, Italy, and Germany - the bloc's three largest countries by population - either suspended or limited the use of the vaccine before the EMA declared that the benefits outweighed the risks and it should remain in use. There have been seven deaths among the 30 cases.

In total, the United Kingdom has ordered 457 million doses, of which 100 million are from AstraZeneca.



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