The World Health Organization (WHO) backed the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after some European countries suspended the use following reports of the formation of blood clots in several recipients.
WHO aligned with the EU regulator in recommending the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. WHO says there is no causal link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots and is reviewing data collected so far.
At least five European countries, including Denmark, Norway and Iceland, have suspended the use of a specific batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine after a Danish woman died due to the formation of blood clots after inoculation. Italy’s drug regulator said it has suspended the use of a separate batch after two deaths.
However, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus backed the use of vaccine. “More than 335 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally so far, and no deaths have been found to have been caused by COVID-19 vaccines,” He said.
The WHO also said a panel of experts was investigating the latest reports and said any changes to its current recommendations will be communicated immediately.
Separately, the WHO granted an emergency use listing for the vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, meaning the one-dose shot can now be used as part of the international COVAX effort to distribute vaccines globally.
A massive study that spanned three continents found the J&J vaccine was 85% effective in protecting against severe illness, hospitalisations and death. That protection remained strong even in countries like South Africa where new coronavirus variants have been identified.
COVAX previously announced it had an initial agreement with J&J to provide 500 million doses.
[Featured Image: Christopher Black/World Health Organization/AFP]