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Statement on AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine safety by the WHO

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Some countries in the European Union have temporarily suspended the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as a precautionary measure based on reports of rare blood coagulation disorders in persons who had received the vaccine. Other countries in the EU – having considered the same information – have decided to continue using the vaccine in their immunization programs.

Vaccination against COVID-19 will not reduce illness or deaths from other causes. Thromboembolic events are known to occur frequently. Venous thromboembolism is the third most common cardiovascular disease globally.

An extensive vaccination campaigns, it is routine for countries to signal potential adverse events following immunization. This does not necessarily mean that the events are linked to the vaccination itself, but it is good practice to investigate them. It also shows that the surveillance system works and that effective controls are in place.

WHO is in regular contact with the European Medicines Agency and regulators around the world for the latest information on COVID-19 vaccine safety. The WHO COVID-19 Subcommittee of the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety is carefully assessing the latest available safety data for the AstraZeneca vaccine. Once that review is completed, WHO will immediately communicate the findings to the public.

At this time, WHO considers that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh its risks and recommends that vaccinations continue.

Key Points:

  • France, Germany, and Italy were among the countries that suspended the use of the Oxford jab. The World Health Organization is monitoring and investigating results but states that there is no evidence linking the blood clots to the vaccine.
  • In recent reports, 17 million people have received the jab in the EU and UK with fewer than 40 cases of blood clots reported in the last week.
  • Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon.
  •  There is no evidence that the Oxford AstraZeneca jab is unsafe
  • The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to issue a decision for the continued use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
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