‘Very reassuring evidence’ of AstraZeneca vaccine’s safety, expert says
Monday, 15 March 2021
The AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine against coronavirus is safe, the University of Oxford assured after concerns led to its use being suspended in several countries.
There is “very reassuring evidence that there is no increase in a blood clot phenomenon here in the UK, where most of the doses in Europe been given so far,” Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group which developed the vaccine with AstraZeneca, told the BBC on Monday.
He stressed the importance of continuing to vaccinate against the coronavirus, which poses a “huge risk” to health.
In a statement on Sunday, AstraZeneca said that a “careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union (EU) and UK with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.”
The review showed “no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country.”
“Around 17 million people in the EU and UK have now received our vaccine, and the number of cases of blood clots reported in this group is lower than the hundreds of cases that would be expected among the general population,” said Dr Ann Taylor, chief medical officer, in the statement.
The Dutch government decided on Sunday to suspend the use of the vaccine as a precautionary measure until 28 March after “possible side effects” were reported in Denmark and Norway with the AstraZeneca vaccine, with no proven link at this stage, according to the health ministry.
Earlier in the day, Ireland made the same decision after four new serious cases of blood clots in vaccinated adults were reported in Norway.
Norway, which on Saturday also reported skin bleeds in vaccinated youngsters, suspended the vaccine last week, as did Denmark, Iceland and Bulgaria.