The European regulator has expressed confidence in AstraZeneca’s vaccine as more and more countries, mainly European ones, announce the suspension of its use.
In France, scientists have identified a new strain of coronavirus, which in several cases was not detected by conventional PCR tests. In the US, doctors told about a baby born with antibodies after the mother was vaccinated.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) reiterated on Tuesday that it has no reason to link the AstraZeneca shot to blood clots in some vaccinees.
EMA head Emer Cook said she remains fully confident that the benefits of this vaccine outweigh the risks.
According to AstraZeneca, 37 cases of thrombosis were detected among the 17 million vaccinated in Europe. The EMA continues to investigate each of these cases.
“We know that thrombosis occurs in thousands of people in the EU and we want to establish exactly what caused the cases in those who were vaccinated. The investigation is ongoing, but at the moment we strongly believe that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which prevents Covid-19 and the associated hospitalizations and deaths outweigh the risks,” said Emer Cook.
The results of the EMA investigation will be released on Thursday.
However, many countries continue to temporarily phase out AstraZeneca’s vaccine, jeopardizing the already slow-moving global Covid-19 immunization campaign.
As a precautionary measure, vaccination with AstraZeneca has already been suspended in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Indonesia and Venezuela, among others. On Tuesday, Latvia and Sweden joined the list of these countries.
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In Germany, regional and federal leaders have postponed a meeting to expand the vaccination program pending the results of an EMA investigation. The authorities planned from April to expand the network of vaccination centers to include family doctor’s offices in order to reach the level of 20 million vaccinations per month. AstraZeneca’s vaccine was considered one of Germany’s key vaccines, second in terms of doses purchased after Pfizer/BioNTech.
On the contrary, have changed their decision to temporarily not use AstraZeneca Thai authorities. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-Ocha was vaccinated with the vaccine on Tuesday. “There are people who doubt. But we must believe in doctors, believe in medical professionals,” the head of government said.
Australian authorities announced their decision to continue immunization with the AstraZeneca vaccine, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau personally urged compatriots to get vaccinated after reports of refusals due to backlash in Europe.
On Friday, the World Health Organization said there was no evidence of a link between AstraZeneca’s vaccine and blood clots, urging governments not to stop its use in the fight against the pandemic.
In Britain, this vaccine is one of the main ones, and millions of people have already received the first dose of AstraZeneca. The UK Medicines Regulatory Agency said it was monitoring the situation closely but did not consider the data to be sufficient cause for alarm.
“If we take into account the number of people who have already received a dose of this vaccine, and the frequency with which people naturally develop blood clots, the available data do not demonstrate that the vaccine can be considered a cause,” said representatives of the British regulator.
French authorities have announced that scientists have discovered a new strain of coronavirus in Brittany, a region in the west of the country. According to initial estimates, this strain does not appear to be more contagious or more dangerous than others, the health ministry said in a statement. But he may have another dangerous feature.
A group of people infected with this strain was found in a hospital in Lannion. But while symptomatic, some of them have tested negative for the usually effective coronavirus PCR test.
Scientists are conducting further research on whether the virus has indeed mutated in such a way that a new strain has emerged that is harder to detect.
Scientists regularly report the discovery of new strains of coronavirus, but at the moment only three of them are considered alarming.
Paediatricians Paul Gilbert and Chad Rudnick of Boca Raton, Florida, described the first to their knowledge of a baby born with antibodies that protect against Covid-19.
In January, a pregnant healthcare worker was vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine three weeks before giving birth, Dr. Gilbert said, and doctors decided to take advantage of the opportunity to find out if antibodies could be passed from mother to child.
Immediately after birth, they took a blood test from the umbilical cord and found antibodies in the baby that could only come from the mother.
Moreover, these antibodies were developed exclusively as a result of vaccination, since even before the birth, the mother’s tests for coronavirus gave a negative result, that is, antibodies could not be produced in her blood naturally during the body’s fight against coronavirus.
Doctors hope their findings will prompt further exploration of the benefits of maternal vaccinations, which it turns out can provide newborns with protection against the coronavirus.