EU regulators on Tuesday rubbished the blood clot fears which have constrained 14 European countries to turn their back on the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying there is no evidence the vaccine causes dangerous side-effects. The European Medicines Agency said it was 'firmly convinced' that the AstraZeneca shot should continue, joining the WHO and the UK government in a spirited defence of the vaccine.
On Tuesday, Italy indicated that the reason for European nations turning their backs on AstraZeneca was more political than grounded in medical realities. It was dismissed as ‘Brexit’ sulk.
The chief of Italy's medicines regulator said the sweeping bans across Europe were part of a politically driven dominoes effect which had seen countries come under pressure within the EU to follow suit, particularly since powerhouses France and Germany had made the move.
Experts also pointed out that Pfizer’s Covid vaccine has been linked to more blood clots than AstraZeneca’s. Regulators and scientists insist the clots are appearing in average numbers and are not linked to the vaccines. In both cases, the incidence does not indicate an unusual risk level.
Incidentally, Britain has used more doses of the Oxford jab than any country elsewhere in the world – more than 11million doses – and detected nothing abnormal, its watchdog says.
Experts further point out that even the contraceptive pill, which is known to directly contribute to clots, is linked to blood clots in around one in 1,000 women per year and this is considered a 'very small' risk, according to the National Blood Clot Alliance in the US.
Regulators record hundreds of different illnesses, symptoms and conditions that are reported by people who have had Covid vaccines. These range from common symptoms after vaccination such as arm aches and fevers all the way to death or heart attack.
Some are obviously linked to the vaccine – such as the arm pain – while others have to be monitored to make sure they don't become unusually common after a jab.
Panic was sparked about the blood clotting cases by an announcement that the European Medicines Agency was launching an investigation into 30 reports of people developing blood clots within days of having the vaccine, out of a total five million people, reports Daily Mail.
The ages of the people developing the clots isn't known, but Norwegian officials said they saw three cases in people under the age of 50. And the decision by some countries to halt the vaccine came after a nurse in Austria, 49, died from a clot last Monday shortly after receiving the vaccine amid reports of similar cases across Europe, despite millions of doses being administered safely.