Several European Union countries on Thursday said that they will resume using the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine after the European medical regulator said the jab was “safe and effective”, reported AFP.
Many countries had suspended the use of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine after unusual blood clots were reported in a small number of vaccine recipients. After the announcement by the European Medicines Agency, countries, including Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia and Bulgaria, said they would resume vaccinations.
Italy and Germany said they would restart the use of the vaccine from Friday, according to Financial Times. France Prime Minister Jean Castex said his country would do the same and that he would also get the shot “to show that we can all have total confidence”. Spain said it would resume administering the vaccine from March 24.
Earlier on Thursday, European Medicines Agency head Emer Cooke had said that it was far riskier to not get the shot as many countries were facing a surge in coronavirus cases. Cooke, however, added that the agency “cannot rule out definitively a link” between rare types of blood clots and the vaccine. She said that experts recommend raising awareness among doctors and recipients of possible risks.
Denmark, Norway and Iceland had temporarily suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccines on March 11. Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Bulgaria and The Netherlands had also followed suit. Other countries such as Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxemburg, however, did not completely suspend the use of the vaccine but stopped using just one batch.
On Monday, the World Health Organization, too, had observed that countries should continue using the coronavirus vaccines developed by AstraZeneca. WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan had said no causal link has yet been established between clotting and the vaccine.
Concerns were also raised in India, where the vaccine is being locally produced by the Serum Institute in Pune. The Indian government, however, on Thursday clarified that there was “no signal of concern” regarding the use of the Covishield vaccine.