The European Union’s (EU) medicines regulator has said the benefits of using the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 still outweigh the risks of side effects, despite growing number of mostly European countries have halted the use of the vaccine.
Emer Cooke, head of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), said that they are investigating all the available data and clinical circumstances of each case to deliver a conclusion. He stressed the EMA is “firmly convinced that the AstraZeneca vaccine, in preventing COVID-19 with its associated risk of hospitalisations and deaths, outweighs the risks of side effects”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also stated last week that the vaccination is safe to use and has no direct links to severe side-effects or death. Moreover, were no reports of increased blood clots in the clinical studies of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca with the University of Oxford.
More than 16 countries – including Germany, Italy, France and Spain – have suspended the use of the vaccine after more than 37 reports of blood clots and at least five deaths among people who had received the shot.
Many countries have placed their bets on the AstraZeneca vaccine which is cheaper and easier to handle than some other alternatives.
Maldives is currently using Indian-produced version of the same vaccine and so far no direct links have been established with the three deaths reported after vaccination. More than 200,000 has received the first dose of vaccine in Maldives which is about 46% of the eligible population.