‘Benefits outweigh the risks’: Belgium continues to use AstraZeneca vaccine
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‘Benefits outweigh the risks’: Belgium continues to use AstraZeneca vaccine

Credit: Belga

Belgium will continue to administer AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine, decided Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke, following advice from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

On Thursday, several countries, including Denmark and Austria, decided to pause their administering of the AstraZeneca vaccine while a study into the development of blood clots is being carried out.

Belgium, however, will not adjust its vaccination strategy, and continues to use AstraZeneca’s vaccine, said Vandenbroucke.

“What the Danes are doing is hard to understand,” he told VRT NWS. “Unfortunately, people die from blood clotting problems every now and then, but it is not the case that more people die because of AstraZeneca.”

“The EMA already has an awful lot of data in Europe and there is absolutely no evidence of clotting problems,” Vandenbroucke added.

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Earlier on Thursday, EMA stated that countries did not have to stop using the vaccines, as the agency’s safety committee considered that “the benefits still outweigh the risks.”

“The vaccine can continue to be administered while investigations into cases of thrombosis and embolism are ongoing,” it added.

Several people had developed thrombosis and embolism after vaccination, and a woman in Austria and someone in Denmark died as a result, but according to the EMA there is no indication that this was due to the vaccine.

So far, 5 million people in Europe have received the vaccine from AstraZeneca. Among them are 30 cases of thrombosis and embolism, which is no higher than in the general population, according to EMA.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times