European medicines regulator to announce link between AstraZeneca shot and blood clots
Officials are still unclear as to how the inoculation is related to thrombosis
A top official in Europe’s medicines regulator said on Tuesday there was a link between AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine and rare blood clots.
The European Medicines Agency’s head of vaccines Marco Cavaleri said the body would announce a link between blood clots and the shot later on Tuesday.
“In my opinion, we can say it now: it is clear there is a link with the vaccine. But we still do not know what causes this reaction,” he told Italy’s Il Messaggero newspaper.
“In the next few hours, we will say that there is a connection, but we still have to understand how this happens.”
The agency said last month the vaccine was safe and effective but it was unable to definitively rule out the link between thrombosis and the drug.
Several European nations restricted the vaccine to older people. Others suspended its use completely.
UK Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Tuesday the government would follow the advice of the British medicines regulator after reports officials were preparing to limit use of the vaccine to people over 30.
“We’ve done over 20 million vaccinations using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine … at the moment, they’ve been very clear to say, when you get your invite come forward and get the vaccine,” he told Sky News on Tuesday.
“But we will be led by what the regulator and scientists say is the right thing to do. We stand ready … to implement whatever they decide.”
Questions on whether rare but serious blood clots among those receiving the AstraZeneca injection are more frequent than in the general population, and what causes them if they are, continue to undermine confidence in the vaccine.
After several countries suspended their use of the shot, the EMA said the benefits outweigh the risks and it should remain in use.
But it has said that a causal link between clots and the vaccine is possible. It is expected to provide an updated assessment this week.
“We are trying to get a precise picture of what is happening, to define in detail this syndrome due to the vaccine,” Mr. Cavaleri said.
“Among the vaccinated, there are more cases of cerebral thrombosis … among young people than we would expect.”
Which countries have restricted AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine?
UK Available for over-18s
France Available for over-55s only
Germany Available for over-60s in most cases
Italy Available for over-65s
Spain Available for under-65s in most cases
Sweden Available for use in over-65s
Norway Vaccine suspended
Netherlands Vaccine suspended