Published: Tue, April 06, 2021
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European Union could achieve Covid-19 immunity by mid-July, says vaccine chief

European Union could achieve Covid-19 immunity by mid-July, says vaccine chief

The head of the European Medicines Agency's vaccines strategy said there is a link between the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and a rare blood clot in the brain.

EMA head of vaccines Marco Cavaleri told Italy's Il Messaggero newspaper that "in my opinion, we can say it now, it is clear there is a link with the vaccine", although it was not clear what caused such a reaction.

Questions on whether or not AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine causes serious blood clots have been circulating over the past weeks, with a number of countries halting their rollout of the vaccine. "Then 120 million in the summer, and we will reach a rate of 200 million from September", he said.

Breton, the European Union commissioner in charge of the vaccine task force, had already suggested at the end of March that herd immunity would be possible in the European Union by July 14th, as incoming jabs are expected to speed up the continent's sluggish vaccine rollout.

A number of countries have suspended the use of the jab among younger people, including in Germany, which has paused it for people aged below 60, and Canada, where the jab is not being given to those under 55.

"Regulators have clear and stringent efficacy and safety standards for the approval of any new medicine, and that includes COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca", a spokeswoman said last month.

"We are trying to get a precise picture of what is happening, to define in detail this syndrome due to the vaccine", Mr Cavaleri said.

He added: "Among the vaccinated, there are more cases of cerebral thrombosis... among young people than we would expect".

"Our thorough and detailed review is ongoing into reports of very rare and specific types of blood clots with low platelets following the Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca".

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, officials are considering restricting usage of the vaccine in people under 30, Channel 4 News reported on Monday.

In total, the United Kingdom has ordered 457 million doses, of which 100 million are from AstraZeneca.

But when it comes to the EU's slow vaccine rollout, Breton blamed the AstraZeneca laboratory. There have been seven deaths among the 30 cases.

The EMA's Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) began a three-day meeting on Tuesday to discuss a possible update to the recommendation on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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