Published: Mon, March 15, 2021
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Expert says Canadians should put AstraZeneca European suspensions in context

Expert says Canadians should put AstraZeneca European suspensions in context

The German government said Monday that it's suspending the use of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine over new reports of unsafe blood clots in connection with the shot.

But De Jonge said his decision was informed by new reports, which would now be investigated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Ireland's National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) recommended the temporary deferral pending the receipt of more information from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in the coming days.

"There were a few cases of what sounded like blood clots in a few European settings and the thought was there may be an association to the AstraZeneca vaccine".

The Republic of Ireland, Bulgaria, Denmark, Norway and Iceland have paused its use, as has Thailand.

"A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and United Kingdom with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country", the company statement said. "17 million people have had this vaccine and there is no evidence of any kind that it is causing blood clots".

The Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb said side effects seen included possible cases of thrombosis or embolisms, but not of a lowered number of platelets, as has been reported in Denmark and Norway.

"In fact, the reported numbers of these types of events for COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca are lower than the number that would have occurred naturally in the unvaccinated population", said the spokesman.

"It may be nothing, we may be overreacting and I sincerely hope that in a week's time that we will have been accused of being overly-cautious", Glynn told RTE.

The AstraZeneca shot has become a key tool in European countries' efforts to vaccinate their citizens against COVID-19.

The European Medicines Agency said that as of March 10, there were just 30 reports of clots among nearly 5 million people given the vaccine across Europe.

"Health Canada and our experts have spent an very bad lot of time making sure every vaccine approved in Canada is both safe and effective", Trudeau said.

Dr Taylor said: "The nature of the pandemic has led to increased attention in individual cases and we are going beyond the standard practices for safety monitoring of licensed medicines in reporting vaccine events, to ensure public safety".

Germany on Monday halted use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, the Health Ministry announced in a statement, with Italy and France following suit later in the day. The Centre West health authority, which runs the Decarie Square mass vaccination clinic, said about 12 per cent of those set to be vaccinated at the clinic over the weekend also refused the AstraZeneca shot.

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