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EMA meets to reconsider AstraZeneca’s vaccine

Credit: Belga

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is meeting on Monday, to discuss whether or not a new recommendation on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine is necessary.

Several countries – including Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark – have already put their vaccination campaigns with the AstraZeneca vaccine on hold, following reports that several vaccinated people developed blood clots and thrombosis symptoms after being vaccinated.

A new EMA statement about the vaccine was initially expected this afternoon, but sources told VRT that there is a possibility that a possible new opinion will not be issued until Thursday.

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Last week, Belgium announced that it will continue to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine for the time being, as there is no real evidence that there is an increased risk, following EMA’s recommendation.

Last 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.

The countries that put the vaccine on hold all emphasised that the suspension is temporary and that additional research is being carried out.

In Belgium, there have been two reports of blood clots, the cabinet of Federal Public Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke announced on Saturday.

“We continue to follow the case closely with our experts,” Gudrun Briat, spokesperson for Belgium’s vaccination taskforce told Het Nieuwsblad. “We will follow the EMA meeting this afternoon closely, safety is our main priority.”

If that opinion is changed, it is likely that Belgium will also change its strategy.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times