New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Thursday termed the COVID-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca as safe and effective and said that it is convinced the benefits of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks following an investigation into reports of blood disorders that prompted more than a dozen nations to suspend its use.

The European medical regulator's approval came after the World Health Organisation (WHO) and British health watchdog both said the vaccine was safe and it was far riskier to not get the shot as many countries are witnessing another surge in the coronavirus cases.

Following the verdict from the EMA, leading EU countries including Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia and Bulgaria have announced that they will resume the AstraZeneca vaccinations. However, Norway and Sweden said they were not ready to resume using the vaccine. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said it "took note" of the EMA's ruling, but it was "premature" to draw conclusions and it would announce its own opinion by the end of next week.

The EMA's chief Emer Cooke on Thursday, as reported by news agency AFP, said that after an investigation into the AstraZeneca jab, its "committee has come to a clear scientific conclusion: this is a safe and effective vaccine". The committee also concluded that the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of thromboembolic events or blood clots". However, the agency said it "cannot rule out definitively" a link to a rare clotting disorder.

The World Health Organization (WHO) repeated that it was better to take the AstraZeneca vaccine than not. “We do not want people to panic and we would, for the time being, recommend that countries continue vaccinating with AstraZeneca. So far, we do not find an association between these events and the vaccine,” WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said, referring to reports of blood clots from several countries.

Following the suspension of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine by several EU countries, India had also decided to review the post-vaccination side effects of 'Covishield'. NK Arora, a member of the National Task Force on COVID-19, said that the government is looking at all adverse events, "particularly serious adverse events like deaths and hospitalisation".

AstraZeneca, which is being locally developed by Serum Institue of India (SII), was approved for emergency use authorisation along with Bharat Biotech's Covaxin by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) in January this year.

 

(With Agency Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan