EMA official sees thrombosis link with AstraZeneca vaccine

Brunilde Fioravanti
Aprile 6, 2021

Persistent questions on whether rare but serious blood clots among those getting the AstraZeneca jab against Covid-19 are more frequent than in the general population have undermined confidence in the beleaguered vaccine.

Mr Cavaleri indicated that the EMA would confirm this view, adding, "in the next few hours, we will say that there is a connection, but we still have to understand how this happens".

The EMA's safety committee "has not yet reached a conclusion and the review is now ongoing", the agency said in a statement to AFP, adding that it expected to announce a decision on Wednesday or Thursday.

The EMA was already expected to provide an updated assessment this week.

The EMA said the vaccine was not associated with an increase in the overall risk of blood clots, but may be associated with clots linked to very rare condition involving low levels of blood platelets (thromocytopenia).

Scientists are exploring several possibilities that might explain the extremely rare brain blood clots that occurred in individuals in the days and weeks after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Authorities had pledged to administer at least 4 million first doses of the vaccine by end-March, but could only vaccinate 670,000 after the European Union blocked AstraZeneca vaccine exports to Australia in the wake of the drugmaker's failure to meet its shipment pledge to the bloc.

"We are trying to get a precise picture of what is happening, to define in detail this syndrome due to the vaccine", he said.

An investigation is also underway in the United Kingdom, where researchers are looking at the possibility of links between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots.

"The U.K. needs to be on high alert as it starts using the vaccine in younger people", Sam Fazeli, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote in a report.

Britain - where AstraZeneca has been administered more than in any other country - registered 30 cases as of Saturday, including seven fatalities, across a total of 18.1 million doses. Should the United Kingdom government restrict access to AstraZeneca, the speed of their vaccine rollout could be greatly slowed down.

But the regulator said the benefits of the vaccine in preventing coronavirus outweigh any risks and it urged the public to continue coming forward for the jab.

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