'Link between AstraZeneca jab and blood clots' - EMA vaccine chief

Covid 19 coronavirus: AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots link 'clear', says top health official

Covid 19 coronavirus: AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots link 'clear', says top health official

Marco Cavaleri, head of vaccines strategy at the EMA, told Italy's Il Messaggero newspaper that he believes there is a "clear" link between the vaccine and rare cases of blood clots reported in people who recently received the jab.

"Now we can say it, it is clear that there is a link with the vaccine".

Finnish health authorities have confirmed that they are planning to continue use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for the time being, after a senior official at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) linked the vaccine to blood clots.

But it has said that a causal link between clots and the vaccine is possible, and is expected to provide an updated assessment this week.

Asked if the risk-benefit ratio was still in favor of the vaccine, Cavaleri replied, "Yes".

He said that "we still do not know what causes this reaction", as reports accumulate of people across the world experiencing blood clots after receiving the jab developed by British-Swedish drug company AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

Experts from the European Medicines Agency are meeting today to finalise their evaluation of rare cases of blood clotting and its possible relationship with AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine, whose use is suspended in some European countries for people under 60 years of age.

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Mr Cavaleri confirmed the benefits of having the vaccination still outweighed the risks and added: "We will go into the various age groups in more detail".

She noted that out of the 346,900 doses of this vaccine that have been administered in Greece, only one "probable" case of the syndrome has been recorded.

Of those, 14 have resulted in death, though it is not possible to definitively attribute fatalities to this rare form of thrombosis, the head of the EMA, Emer Cook, said last week in a videoconference.

Use of the AstraZeneca vaccine was temporarily halted in many countries in March after several cases of blood clots were found in Norway.

The majority of Australia's near 26 million population will be administered the AstraZeneca vaccine, with 50 million doses set to be produced locally from the end of March.

But as is true of all medications, risks must always be weighed against benefits.

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