Tuesday, May 24

WHO experts will discuss Oxford vaccine after suspension in some countries | Coronavirus

Safety experts from the World Health Organization are preparing to meet about the AstraZeneca / Oxford coronavirus vaccine, the launch of which has been halted in several European countries for fear of blood clots.

The three largest nations in the EU: Germany, Italy and France – joined others in suspending the injection on Monday, dealing a blow to the global immunization campaign against a disease that has killed more than 2.6 million people.

the World Health Organization, AstraZeneca and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have insisted that the injection is safe and that there is no link between the vaccine and the reported blood clots.

“We do not want people to panic and for now we would recommend that countries continue to vaccinate with AstraZeneca,” WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said Monday.

“So far, we have not found an association between these events and the vaccine.”

The EMA said in a statement that “many thousands of people develop blood clots annually in the EU for different reasons” and that the number of incidents in vaccinated people “appears not to be higher than that observed in the general population”.

In a statement, the EMA “the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19, with its associated risk of hospitalization and death, outweigh the risks of side effects.”

Experts from the WHO and EMA will discuss AstraZeneca vaccine data separately on Tuesday, with the European regulator holding a special meeting on Thursday to decide on any further action.

Experts have said that the number of cases of blood clots and thrombocytopenia, a rarer condition in which people do not make enough platelets, in people who have been vaccinated is no higher than in the population who have not received the injection. .

The International Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis, representing medical experts from around the world, said friday that “the small number of thrombotic events reported in relation to the millions of Covid-19 vaccines administered does not suggest a direct link.”

The AstraZeneca injection, one of the cheapest available, was heralded as the vaccine of choice by poorer nations and reports of clots have had an impact beyond Europe.

Indonesia delayed the launch of AstraZeneca on Monday, and Venezuela announced that he would not authorize the jab for fear of “complications.”

Nevertheless, Australia He has said he will continue to use the vaccine. The country’s chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, said in an emailed statement that the government remained relying on the vaccine as there was no evidence that it caused blood clots, although the reported side effects would be investigated as a “precautionary measure. “.

CanadaPrime Minister Justin Trudeau also urged citizens to get vaccinated against AstraZeneca on Monday following reports of wavering based on suspensions in Europe.

The vaccine was developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford in Brittany, where more than 11 m doses have been administered without major problems.

The controversy over the virus comes as several countries battle worrying waves of coronavirus infections.

NorwayThe capital, Oslo, announced tougher measures to halt the spread of the virus, including closing secondary schools, as it reported a record number of cases last week.

“These will be the most intrusive measures taken by Oslo during the pandemic,” said Mayor Raymond Johansen. “It is hard, it is difficult but it is necessary.”

And a new spike pushed the main Covid-19 hospital to Bosnia to the brim, forcing him to declare a state of emergency.

“The staff is exhausted,” wrote the hospital’s director, Sebija Izetbegovic, on Facebook. “We will continue to do everything possible to save lives, but the situation is really critical. More and more employees are sick ”.

most of Italy It re-entered the lockdown on Monday, with schools, restaurants, shops and museums closed, while intensive care doctors in Germany issued an urgent call for new restrictions to prevent a third wave in the country.

BrazilPresident Jair Bolsonaro, widely criticized for his skepticism about the coronavirus, appointed a new Health Minister on Monday as the country was reeling from another deadly spike in infections and deaths.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report


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