Doctors reacted when EU countries suspended the shot

A healthcare worker prepares a syringe with 19 doses of AstraZeneca Covid at Korea City Hospital in Spain.

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LONDON – Health experts say they are frustrated and confused by the suspension of a coronavirus vaccine suspension developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, warning that there are not enough data to justify these decisions.

Sweden and Latvia joined a fast-growing list of European countries on Tuesday suspending vaccine use as a precautionary measure, following reports of blood clots. Germany, France, Italy and Spain said on Monday they would stop handling all shots.

In other countries, the use of certain doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been temporarily suspended. On Friday, Thailand became the first Asian nation to stop using the shot due to security concerns.

The UK, Canada and Australia Australia – which continues to deploy the vaccine – are among the few countries that want to reassure citizens about its benefits.

The World Health Organization, Europe’s drug regulator and the International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis have all recommended that countries continue to use the Ox Xford-Astrazeneka vaccine.

So far there is no indication of any data that really justifies these decisions.

Michael Head

Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton

“The decisions of France, Germany and other countries seem surprising,” said Dr Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton in the UK.

“The data we have indicate that a number of adverse events related to blood clotting are similar (and probably, in fact, lower) in vaccinated groups than in non-vaccinated populations,” he added.

“Vaccine roll stops during epidemics are the result. This results in delays in people’s protection, and as a result of people seeing headlines and becoming sensibly concerned, vaccine contractions are likely to increase. There are no indications yet that data really support these decisions.” Settles, ”Head added.

Experts from the WHO will meet on Tuesday to review the safety of the shots.

The European Medicines Agency, which is also evaluating the drug’s safety, said it did not show signs of blood clots, adding that the benefits of the vaccine “outweigh its risks.”

What has AstraZeneca said?

More than 17 million people in the European Union and the UK have received doses of the Ox Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, with less than 40 cases of blood clots reported last week, AstraZeneca said in a statement.

The pharmaceutical company said 15 cases of deep vein thrombosis and 22 cases of pulmonary embolism were reported among people vaccinated in the EU and the UK.

“This size is much smaller than expected to occur naturally in the general population and is similar to other licensed COVID-19 vaccines,” AstraZeneca said.

The EMA also said that data available so far show that the number of blood clots in vaccinated people is not higher than in the general population.

A bottle of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Igor PTX | Controllab | Light Rocket by Getty Images

Drug precautions by Europe have exacerbated the region’s disease vaccination campaign and come at a time when Germany’s public health agency has warned that a third wave of coronavirus infection has begun.

Associate Professor of Medicine School of Medicine, University of Leeds, Dr. Stephen Griffin said the news that many European countries had postponed the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was “disappointing.”

“The importance of continuing vaccination programs cannot be underestimated, as many European countries are currently experiencing a resurgence of SARS-Cavi2 infection and are lagging behind in terms of roll-out, and the damage caused by depriving people of vaccine access,” said Graffin. Even in the worst case scenario, if a link to the disorder is eventually found, it will greatly increase.

“It should also be noted that nationwide gestures such as shyness, or more stern-anti-vaccination sentiment are bound to weaken vaccination efforts.”

How does the vaccine work?

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is a shot designed to prevent coronavirus in people over 18 years of age. It is made up of adenoviruses that have been modified to contain genes for making proteins, the virus that causes SARS-CoV-2, Covid-19 As such, the vaccine does not contain the virus and cannot cause covid.

The most common side effects of a shot are usually mild or moderate and improve within a few days of vaccination.

Late-stage clinical trials showed average efficacy in protecting AstraZeneca-Ox Xford against the virus.

Leading vaccine safety at the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. “We are closely reviewing the reports but the available evidence does not indicate that the vaccine is the cause,” said Phil Bryan.

“Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon. More than 11 million doses of the AZ vaccine have now been given in the UK, and the number of reports of blood clots after vaccination is not higher than when they occurred naturally.” He continued.

“We are working with our international counterparts to understand the global safety experience of the COVID-19 vaccine and the rapid distribution of safety data and reports. People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine at their behest,” Bryan said. .