WHO reacts to suspension of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine by EU countries

The temporal suspension of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine by some countries in the European Union (EU) has been described as a precautionary measure by the World Health Organization (WHO).

It said the countries suspended the vaccines due to reports of rare blood coagulation disorders in persons who had received the vaccine.

The health body which recommended the vaccine said that some countries in the EU, having considered the same information, had decided to continue using the vaccine.

WHO explained that it has considered the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine and it outweighed its risks.

“Vaccination against COVID-19 will not reduce illness or deaths from other causes. Thromboembolic events are known to occur frequently. Venous thromboembolism is the third most common cardiovascular disease globally.

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“In extensive vaccination campaigns, it is routine for countries to signal potential adverse events following immunization. This does not necessarily mean that the events are linked to vaccination itself, but it is good practice to investigate them. It also shows that the surveillance system works and that effective controls are in place, the statement said,” it said.

It added that it was carefully assessing the latest available safety data for the AstraZeneca vaccine and will immediately communicate the findings to the public.

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