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Selasa, 16 Maret 2021

European medical regulator backs AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as Sweden and Latvia pause use - ABC News

Europe's medicines watchdog says the benefits of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine continue to outweigh the risks despite several countries halting its use due to concerns about blood clots.

EMA Executive Director Emer Cooke said there was no indication that the blood clot incidents, which she called "very rare", had been caused by the vaccine, but that experts were assessing that possibility.

Trust in the safety of the vaccines was paramount and the agency was carrying out a case-by-case evaluation, she said.

"The benefits continue to outweigh the risks, but this is a serious concern and it does need serious and detailed scientific evaluation. This is what we are involved in at the moment," Ms Cooke told a news conference.

The results of its findings would be discussed during an EMA review on Thursday after which the results would be made public.

On Tuesday Sweden and Latvia became the latest countries to suspend the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot, in a further blow to Europe's vaccination rollout.

A middle-aged woman with blonde hair and a blue suit talks via video link.
EMA boss Emer Cooke says AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot is being "evaluated".(

AP: Yves Herman

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The EU's largest members — Germany, France and Italy — suspended use of AstraZeneca's vaccine on Monday, pending the outcome of investigations into unusual cases of a rare cerebral thrombosis in people who had received it.

A total of 13 EU countries have now acted since reports first emerged of thromboembolisms affecting people after they got the AstraZeneca shot.

Some experts said the episodes of blood clots, bleeding and low platelet counts in younger people seemed to indicate a causal connection to the AstraZeneca shot.

"But it could be the case that the risks of the vaccine are higher for certain patient groups such as young women."

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Other epidemiologists note that similar cases have not been found in unusual numbers in Britain, which began using AstraZeneca earlier and has given more than 10 million doses.

"A very likely explanation of at least some of the clotting disorders seen are a result of COVID-19 rather than the vaccine," said Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is held up.
AstraZeneca is one of the least expensive COVID-19 vaccines.(

Reuters: Gareth Fuller

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"There are published papers that make clear that these problems definitely occur in COVID-19 and there is no doubt that all the vaccines in use prevent that disease.

In the EU's largest states, including Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, AstraZeneca has accounted for just under 15 per cent of shots given since the rollout began almost three months ago, with Pfizer-BioNTech making up the majority, according to official data.

As one as the cheapest to be developed, the AstraZeneca shot is set to be the mainstay of vaccination programmes in much of the developing world.

Governments say they acted on the AstraZeneca shot out of an abundance of caution — of 1.6 million people in Germany given the vaccine, seven fell ill with a very rare cerebral vein thrombosis of whom three died.

In a detailed analysis of its findings Germany's vaccine oversight body, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, said six of the cases were in women of young or middle age — a number statistically significantly higher than normally expected.

The EU aims to vaccinate at least 255 million people, or 70 per cent of its adult population, by the end of the northern summer.

The bloc has administered 11 shots so far for every 100 residents, while Israel — a world leader in vaccination —has given 108 doses, according to Our World in Data.

Reuters

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2021-03-16 17:48:49Z
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