Health experts from the World Health Organisation and the European Union are set to meet today to discuss the AstraZeneca vaccine after several countries suspend its use.
Germany, France, Italy and Spain are the latest to temporarily stop using the British jab, following a handful of reports of blood clots in those who receive the vaccine from two batches in Europe.
A specific batch, ABV5300, which had been delivered to 17 EU member states, including Malta, is currently under investigation by the European Medicines Authority.
“This does not necessarily mean these events are linked to vaccination, but it’s routine practice to investigate them, and it shows that the surveillance system works and that effective controls are in place”, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday.
However, the current consensus remains that there is no evidence to suggest that the aforementioned illnesses are a result of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The European Medicines Authority stressed that there is no link between blood clots and the vaccine. The WHO also said it had no received any reports about “thrombo-embolic events” in other parts of the world.
A data review of the 17 million people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine also showed no evidence of increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) according to a pharmaceutical giant.
Turmoil involving the AstraZeneca vaccine comes as countries battle a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by more contagious variants.
WHO agency chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the “greatest threat” most countries face now is lack of access to vaccines, warning he received calls from leaders worldwide almost daily asking when their countries will receive doses through the COVAX initiative.
Tag someone who needs to know this