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WHO assessing reports on risks related to AstraZeneca Covid vaccine

A number of European states have suspended vaccination with the AstraZeneca drug as a precaution after reports on severe side-effects, including blood clots, emerged, Sputnik reported.

Published: Mar 12, 2021, 10.39 AM(IST)

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) is carefully assessing reports on risks related to the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19, a Sputnik report has said.

A number of European states have suspended vaccination with the AstraZeneca drug as a precaution after reports on severe side-effects, including blood clots, emerged, Sputnik reported.

The European Medicines Agency, however, said there was currently no indication that the reported negative effects had been caused by the vaccination.

“The GACVS is carefully assessing the current reports on the AstraZeneca vaccine. As soon as WHO gains a full understanding of these events, the findings and any changes to current recommendations will be immediately communicated to the public,” the spokesperson said on late Thursday as quoted by Sputnik.

“The information available so far indicates that the number of thromboembolic events in vaccinated people is no higher than that seen in the general population. The Committee further noted that the vaccine can continue to be administered while the investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing,” the spokesperson added.

Canada has also said the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe even as Denmark and Norway temporarily suspended its use.

“Health Canada is aware of reports of adverse events in Europe following immunization with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, and would like to reassure Canadians that the benefits of the vaccine continue to outweigh its risks,” the health department said in a statement.

“At this time, there is no indication that the vaccine caused these events,” it said.

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Canada received 500,000 AstraZeneca doses made at the Serum Institute of India last week, and expects to get 1.5 million more in by May.

“To date, no adverse events related to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine… have been reported to Health Canada or the Public Health Agency of Canada,” the statement said.

The WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

More than 118.34 million people have so far been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 2.62 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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