The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is “safe and effective” – and its benefits outweigh any risks, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has concluded.
The European regulator said the vaccine was “not associated” with a higher risk of blood clots, but said it would continue to study the possibility of such links.
The EMA’s reaffirmation of the safety of the Oxford jab comes after the World Health Organization on Thursday called on countries to continue using the vaccine.
Concerns about the EU’s vaccination drive were sparked after 13 member states – including Germany, France and Italy – decided to suspend use of the jab, even as the continent battles a surging third wave of Covid-19.
Emer Cooke, EMA executive director, said this situation was not unexpected, adding that “when you vaccinate millions of people” such reports of rare events will occur.
The EMA has concluded there is no overall increase in the risk of blood clots with the vaccine, and in fact it is likely to reduce the overall risk of clots.
Cooke told a press briefing: “The committee has come to a clear scientific conclusion. This is a safe and effective vaccine. Its benefits in protecting people from Covid-19, with the associated risks of death and hospitalisation, outweigh the possible risks.
“The committee also concluded that the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of thromboembolic events, or blood clots.”
It comes after it emerged five men in the UK have suffered an “extremely rare” blood clot problem after having the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, though no causal link with the jab has been established.