The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has officially confirmed this Wednesday the existence of a causal link between AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine and cases rare cases of thrombosis associated with a low number of platelets recorded among people who have received this injection.
However, the EMA insists that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks of side effects. “The risk of mortality from Covid is much greater that the risk of mortality due to these secondary effects, “said the executive director of the Agency, Emer Cooke, at a press conference.
“The EMA safety committee has concluded today that the blood clots unusual with low blood platelets should be included as very rare side effects of Vaxzevria (formerly, Astrazeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine), “the Agency maintains in an opinion published at the end of a two-day meeting devoted to examining the tops.
“A plausible explanation for the combination of blood clots and low platelets is an immune response, which leads to a condition similar to that sometimes seen in patients treated with (the anticoagulant drug) heparin, “explained the executive director.
The European regulator asks healthcare professionals and people who receive the AstraZeneca vaccine to be aware of the possibility of these spins, which occur within two weeks of the injection. Until now, most cases have occurred in women under the age of 60.
People vaccinated with AstraZeneca should seek immediate medical help if they develop symptoms from this combination of blood clots and low blood platelets.
No concrete recommendations
The Health Ministers of the Twenty-seven celebrate a emergency meeting by videoconference to examine the opinion of the EMA. The meeting has been convened by Portugal, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU. Ministers must decide whether to set a Common position at EU level on the age groups to which it should be reserved from now on the AstraZeneca vaccine. For example, the elderly as France or Germany have already done.
The EMA has not made any recommendation as to which age range the AstraZeneca vaccine should be targeted from now on. “Based on the currently available evidence, no specific risk factors have been confirmed. Therefore, the committee cannot recommend any specific measures to reduce risks“says the head of the EMA safety committee, Sabine Straus.
“Most of the cases have occurred in people under the age of 60 and in women. But due to the different ways the vaccine is being used in different countries, the committee has not been able to conclude that age and gender are clear risk factors for these very rare side effects, “he noted.
Of course, the European Medicines Agency insists that the injection must continue to be used throughout the EU. “The benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19 collectively outweigh the risks of side effectsCooke said.
“Covid-19 is a very serious illness with high rates of hospitalization and death and it continues to cause thousands of deaths every day across the EU. This vaccine has been shown to be highly effective: it prevents serious illness and hospitalization, and it is saving lives. Vaccination is extremely important and is helping us in the fight against Covid-19 and we must use the vaccines we have to protect ourselves of its devastating effects “, maintains the director of the EMA.