A health worker holds a box containing the AstraZeneneca vaccine at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi province on the outskirts of Bangkok.
Chaiwat Subprasom | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images
LONDON – The coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford has now been suspended in a number of countries in Europe and Asia, following reports of blood clots in some vaccines.
However, many other countries have defended their use of the shot, saying they will continue their respective vaccination campaigns.
Thailand on Friday became the first Asian country to stop using the jab due to security issues, shortly after Denmark announced a two-week hiatus for its nationwide launch following reports of blood clots and one death.
In a setback for Europe’s vaccination campaign, seven other countries also suspended use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca survey: Norway, Iceland, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
Meanwhile, Austria and Italy have said they will stop using certain groups of vaccine as a precaution.
Europe’s Drug Regulator, the European Medicines Agency, gestures On Thursday, there was no indication that the shot was causing blood clots, adding that he believes the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
The EMA acknowledged that some member states had suspended use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot, but said vaccinations could still be given while an investigation into cases of blood clots was ongoing.
As of Wednesday, about 5 million people in Europe have received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Of this figure, 30 cases of so-called ‘thromboembolic events’ were reported. These cases refer to blood clots that form in the blood vessels and block the blood flow.
AstraZeneca said the vaccine had been extensively studied during Phase 3 trials and confirmed by peer-reviewed data that the shot was ‘generally well tolerated’.
Why do countries stop vaccination campaigns?
Thailand’s health ministry announced on Friday that it would temporarily suspend use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, allegedly describing the shot as a ‘good vaccine’, but one it wants to suspend for safety investigations.
Kiattiphum Wongjit, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, said the country in Southeast Asia was able to interrupt its vaccination campaign because, according to quarantine and border control, it had brought under control a second wave of Covid cases. .
A press conference on the temporary cessation of the launch of AstraZeneca Covid-19 in Thailand will be held on March 12, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Xinhua | Rachen Sageamsak via Getty Images
The country of nearly 70 million people has so far recorded about 26,600 cases and 85 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Thailand’s decision to suspend the planned launch of the Oxford – AstraZeneca vaccine, which was due to start on Friday, comes after the decision of the Danish health authority.
“It is important to emphasize that we did not choose the AstraZeneca vaccine, but that we are putting it in jeopardy,” said Soren Brostrom, director of the National Council for Health in Denmark. Said Thursday.
“There is good evidence that the vaccine is safe and effective. But we as well as the Danish Medicines Agency need to respond to reports of possible serious side effects, both from Denmark and other European countries.”
Many high-income countries have chosen to continue the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccination in the wake of the security problems.
The United Kingdom, France, Australia, Canada and Mexico are among the countries that want to reassure citizens about the benefits of vaccination and have said they will continue their respective vaccination campaigns.
“An analysis of our safety data of more than 10 million records showed no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or thrombosis in deep veins in any defined age group, gender, group or in any country with COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca, a spokesman for AstraZeneca said.
“In fact, the observed number of these types of events is significantly lower in those who are vaccinated than would be expected among the general population.”
What do the experts say?
The EMA’s safety committee is reviewing the issue, but said there is currently no evidence that the vaccine caused blood clots, noting that it is not listed as a side effect of this vaccine.
The European Medicines Regulator has also noted that the available data so far have shown that the number of blood clots in vaccines is not higher than that among the general population.
“Reports of blood clots received so far do not exceed the number that would naturally occur in the vaccinated population,” said Dr. Phil Bryan, a vaccine leader at Regulatory Medicines and Healthcare Products.
“The safety of the public will always come first. We are closely monitoring this issue, but available evidence does not confirm that the vaccine is the cause. People should still get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.” Said Bryan.
Southampton resident Peter Brownsea receives the Oxford / AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from a Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service member at a temporary vaccination center set up at Basingstoke Fire Station, Hampshire, South of England, as crew still taking 999 emergency calls.
Andrew Matthews | AFP | Getty Images
Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: ‘The problem with spontaneous reports of suspected side reactions to a vaccine is the enormous problem of distinguishing a causal effect of an accident. ‘
“This is especially true when we know that Covid-19 disease is very strongly linked to blood clotting and that there have been hundreds if not thousands of deaths caused by blood clotting due to Covid-19 disease. The first thing to to do is to be absolutely sure that the clots have no other cause, including Covid-19, ‘Evans added.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is a shot designed to prevent the coronavirus in people 18 years and older. It consists of an adenovirus adapted to contain the gene for the production of a protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
The most common side effects of the shot, which do not contain the virus and can not cause Covid, are usually mild or moderate and improve within a few days after vaccination.
In late-stage clinical trials, the AstraZeneca-Oxford shot was found to have an average efficacy of 70% to protect the virus.
A more recent study by Oxford researchers found that the Covid vaccine was 76% effective in preventing symptomatic infection for three months after a single dose, and that its effectiveness with a longer interval between the first and second dose has risen.
– OilGasJobz’s Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.