WHO assessing reports on risks related to AstraZeneca Covid vaccine

WION Web Team
Geneva, Switzerland Published: Mar 12, 2021, 10:39 AM(IST)

AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine Photograph:( AFP )

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AstraZeneca said on Thursday it had found no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis - marked by the formation of blood clots - in safety data of more than 10 million records, even when considering subgroups based on age, gender, production batch or country of use.

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) is carefully assessing reports on risks related to the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19, a Sputnik report has said.

A number of European states have suspended vaccination with the AstraZeneca drug as a precaution after reports on severe side-effects, including blood clots, emerged, Sputnik reported.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), however, said there was currently no indication that the reported negative effects had been caused by the vaccination.

“There is currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions, which are not listed as side effects with this vaccine… Although a quality defect is considered unlikely at this stage, the batch quality is being investigated,” according to EMA’s Wednesday statement.

"The GACVS is carefully assessing the current reports on the AstraZeneca vaccine. As soon as WHO gains a full understanding of these events, the findings and any changes to current recommendations will be immediately communicated to the public," the WHO spokesperson said late Thursday as quoted by Sputnik.

"The information available so far indicates that the number of thromboembolic events in vaccinated people is no higher than that seen in the general population. The Committee further noted that the vaccine can continue to be administered while the investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing," the spokesperson added.

AstraZeneca said it had found no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis - marked by the formation of blood clots - in safety data of more than 10 million records, even when considering subgroups based on age, gender, production batch or country of use.

Canada has also said the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe even as Denmark and Norway temporarily suspended its use.

Also read | Thailand delays AstraZeneca vaccine rollout

"Health Canada is aware of reports of adverse events in Europe following immunization with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, and would like to reassure Canadians that the benefits of the vaccine continue to outweigh its risks," the health department said in a statement.

"At this time, there is no indication that the vaccine caused these events," it said.

Canada received 500,000 AstraZeneca doses made at the Serum Institute of India last week, and expects to get 1.5 million more in by May.

"To date, no adverse events related to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine... have been reported to Health Canada or the Public Health Agency of Canada," the statement said.

The WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. 

More than 118.34 million people have so far been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 2.62 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

(with inputs)

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