Some of the largest countries in the EU have stopped using AstraZeneca vaccines over fears that it may cause blood clots. However, the EMA and WHO continue to insist that the jab is safe.
The three biggest EU countries – France, Italy, and Spain – have now all paused the rollout of the vaccine this week. They were shortly followed by Spain, Portugal, Latvia, and Slovenia.
Last week, Denmark and Norway were the first EU countries to stop using it after reports of bleeding and blood clots. Iceland, Bulgaria, Ireland, and the Netherlands have also announced that they will be suspending the rollout of this particular vaccine.
But, according to the WHO, the vaccine is safe and countries should continue to use it. Both the WHO and EMA are planning to hold a meeting next week to further discuss its safety.
EU countries have confirmed that they will not continue using the vaccine until safety concerns are addressed, which is a major blow to the WHO’s global immunization campaign.
According to the EMA, since the 10th March, there have been 30 cases of blood clots in people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab. As the total number of people vaccinated is close to 5 million in Europe, this is lower than the figures seen in unvaccinated populations.
Experts had hoped that vaccination would help bring the pandemic, which has caused over 2.6 million deaths and caused huge damage to the global economy, to an end.
WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said, “We do not want people to panic and we would, for the time being, recommend that countries continue vaccinating with AstraZeneca. So far, we do not find an association between these events and the vaccine.”
The EMA also says that vaccination is still the better option, with a statement this week saying, “The benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19, with its associated risk of hospitalization and death, outweigh the risks of side effects.”
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