EMA rules on AstraZeneca vax safety

March 19, 2021

The European Medicines Agency's safety committee has concluded its review of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, after reports of blood clots caused countries across Europe to halt distribution.

The drug regulator concluded yesterday that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine remains “safe and effective,” but could not rule out a link to the small number of blood clot cases.

Last week, several European countries made the decision to halt the vaccine rollout — including Norway, Iceland, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany and France —following reports of blood clots, some fatal, despite assurance from AstraZeneca that the vaccine was safe.

Now, much of Europe plans to restart use of the vaccine.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex received the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot today and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also scheduled to receive one, in a bid to boost confidence in the vaccine's safety.

In France, the vaccination campaign will be resumed for people aged 55 and over. The health authority said that all three French patients suffered blood clots after receiving the vaccine were younger than 55 years old. This decision comes as Paris and several other parts of France are entering a new lockdown tonight, as the more transmissible variant first identified in Britain is prompting a surge in hospitalizations.