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EU top medical regulator say AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine safe, can't rule out link to blood clots

Europe's top medical regulators say the vaccine is safe and effective after reports of unusual blood clots in several people.

Updated: March 18, 2021 - 12:40pm

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The European Medicines Agency’s expert committee ruled Thursday that the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective and found no link between the vaccine and blood clots, but said they could not definitively rule out a link between blood clots and the vaccine.

“Our scientific position is that is that this vaccine is a safe and effective option to protect citizens against COVID-19," Emer Cooke, the head of the European Medicines Agency said. "It demonstrated that at least 60% efficacy in clinical trials and preventing coronavirus disease. And in fact, the real-world evidence suggests that the effectiveness could be even higher than that," The Associated Press reported.

Cooke and EMA said they will raise awareness of the risks and make sure they are included in future vaccine information.

Earlier this week, more than a dozen countries including Germany, France, Italy and Spain suspended immunization using the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after reports of unusual blood clots in several people. They are among roughly 17 million who have received at least one dose in Europe, according to the Associated Press

The EMA, Europe’s top medical regulator, and the World Health Organization have said there is no current evidence to suggest the vaccine was responsible and that the benefits of immunization far outweighed the potentially small risk of getting vaccinated. 

AstraZeneca said after a careful review of its COVID-19 immunization data, it found no evidence of any increased risk of blood clots in any age group or gender in any country.

On Tuesday, Cooke said the agency’s priority was the vaccine’s safety and that it would consider issues including if extra warnings needed to be added for the AstraZeneca vaccine, the wire service also reports.