Syringes are filled with the Astrazeneca vaccine at the pharmacy.
Christopher Neundorf | alliance of images | fake images
LONDON – The European drug regulator announced on Wednesday a possible link between the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford and rare blood clotting problems in adults who received the injection..
It comes after a review of all currently available evidence on extremely rare cases of unusual blood clots in some vaccinated people.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been plagued by safety concerns in recent weeks, with several European countries briefly suspending use of the vaccine last month.
The European Medicines Agency said on March 31 that it had found the injection to be safe and effective, but added that it could not rule out the possibility of a causal link between the vaccine and clotting events, so it would continue to investigate.
The World Health Organization, the UK drug regulator and the International Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis have said that the benefits of giving the Oxford-AstraZeneca injection far outweigh the risks.
AstraZeneca has previously said that its studies have not found an increased risk of blood clots as a result of its vaccine.
Since then, most countries have resumed use of the injection, but many have discontinued vaccines in certain age groups.
A senior official with the European drug regulator reportedly said Tuesday that there is a clear “association” between the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and very rare blood clots in the brain, although the direct cause was not yet known.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero published on Tuesday, Marco Cavaleri, chairman of the EMA’s vaccine evaluation team, said: “In my opinion, now we can say it, it is clear that there is an association with the vaccine. However. I still don’t know what causes this reaction. “
Subsequently, the EMA denied establishing any link between the Oxford-AstraZeneca injection and the rare blood clots in a statement to Agence France-Presse.
UK Vaccine Trial in Children on Pause
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, the body that approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the UK, has been analyzing the data following several reports, both in the UK and continental Europe, of serious but rare. , some of which have been fatal.
A UK trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in children had already been stopped while the drug regulator investigated a possible link between the injection and blood clotting disorders, specifically cases of blood clots in the veins. of the brain, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. (CVST) as well as thrombocytopenia (low levels of platelets in the blood that help the blood to clot).
The UK government noted that, up to and including 24 March, there were 22 reports of CVST and 8 reports of other low platelet thrombosis events, out of a total of 18.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine (one two-dose injection). given for that date.
People wait at a vaccination center in Cologne, Germany, on April 5, 2021.
Marius Becker | images alliance | fake images
“We need to know more about the people affected and we need to understand exactly how the diseases arose, while many other questions remain unanswered at this time,” said Adam Finn, professor of pediatrics at Britain’s University of Bristol, before the announcement of the Wednesday. .
“However, there are some things that are very clear. The first is that these cases are really very rare. The second is that the vaccines that are available and in use in the UK prevent COVID very effectively,” Finn said. .
“In summary, if you are currently offered a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, your chances of staying alive and well will increase if you get the vaccine and decrease if you don’t.”
– CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.