In response to the concern raised over the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine by some European and African countries, the European Union (EU) alongside the Africa Union (AU) have backed the continued use of the vaccine which they say is effective and safe.
The EU through its European Medicines Agency, EMA after concluding its preliminary review signal of blood clots in people who received the shot confirmed that the jab was not associated with a higher risk of clots.
Addressing a press conference, Emer Cooke, the agency’s executive director, said: “This is a safe and effective vaccine. Its benefits in protecting people from COVID-19 with the associated risks of death and hospitalization outweigh the possible risks.”
Cooke also noted that the EMA’s expert committee on medicine safety; found that “the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of blood clots”.
The committee recommended raising awareness of possible risks, ensuring they are included in the product information.
It further advised healthcare providers and the public should be educated about the signs and symptoms to look out for.
In the same vein, the African Union has called on African countries to “continue with their vaccination campaigns and not to pause, as we are in a race against time”.
WHO’s Africa director Matshidiso Moeti while briefing newsmen on Thursday said that “The more people are protected, the less likelihood of mutations producing more dangerous variants of the virus”.
In recent times, many nations across the world including Africa countries have suspended their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to concerns of blood clots.
Many countries in Africa are relying on the AstraZeneca vaccine as it is cheaper and easier to store. Under the Covax initiative, around 14.5 million doses have been delivered to African countries.