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health
Monday Mar 15 2021
By
Reuters

AstraZeneca issues statement after concerns raised over blood clot risks from COVID-19 vaccine

By
Reuters
Vials labelled "Astra Zeneca COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo, in this illustration photo taken March 14, 2021. -REUTERS
  • AstraZeneca says a review of safety data of people vaccinated has shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.
  • Authorities in Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands have suspended the use of the vaccine over clotting issues.
  • European Medicines Agency has said there is no indication that the events were caused by the vaccination.


AstraZeneca Plc on Sunday issued a statement to dispel the perception that its vaccine increases the risk of blood clots after several countries halted the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the UK manufacturer.

AstraZeneca's review, which covered more than 17 million people vaccinated in the United Kingdom and European Union, comes after health authorities in some countries suspended the use of its vaccine over clotting issues.

"A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and UK with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country," the company said.

Read more: WHO calls AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine safe as countries suspend rollout

Authorities in Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands have suspended the use of the vaccine over clotting issues, while Austria stopped using a batch of AstraZeneca shots last week while investigating a death from coagulation disorders.

"It is most regrettable that countries have stopped vaccination on such 'precautionary' grounds: it risks doing real harm to the goal of vaccinating enough people to slow the spread of the virus, and to end the pandemic," Peter English, a retired British government consultant in communicable disease control, told Reuters.

European Medicines Agency has said there is no indication that the events were caused by the vaccination, a view that was echoed by the World Health Organisation on Friday.

Read more: Chinese vaccine Sinopharm safe for people above 60: Dr Nausheen Hamid

The drugmaker said, 15 events of deep vein thrombosis and 22 events of pulmonary embolism have been reported so far, which is similar across other licensed COVID-19 vaccines.

The company said additional testing has and is being conducted by the company and the European health authorities and none of the re-tests have shown cause for concern. The monthly safety report will be made public on the EMA website in the following week, AstraZeneca said.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, developed in collaboration with Oxford University, has been authorised for use in the European Union and many countries but not yet by U.S. regulators.

The company is preparing to file for US emergency use authorisation and is expecting data from its U.S. Phase III trial to be available in the coming weeks.