The worrying scenes that threatened Australia's vaccine rollout

Yahoo News Staff
·3-min read

Empty vaccination rooms across Europe are set to fill with patients again after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) declared the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine "safe and effective".

Germany, France, Italy and Spain said they will resume their rollout of the vaccine while several other countries are expected to follow after earlier this week suspending the AstraZeneca shots due to concerns over a link to blood clots.

The EMA's executive director, Emer Cooke, said the agency's expert committee on medicine safety found the "vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of... blood clots".

"Its benefits in protecting people from Covid-19 with the associated risks of death and hospitalisation outweigh the possible risks," she said.

 A health worker prepares a dose of AstraZeneca vaccine.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has been declared "safe and effective" by the European Medicines Agency. Source: Getty

At least nineteen European countries halted their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after a total of 30 cases of blood clotting had been reported among close to five million people who received the AstraZeneca jab across 30 European countries.

The scare began with reports of the blood clot reactions in Denmark and Norway.

It was a worrying development as Europe battled to bring surging coronavirus numbers under control with coordinated vaccine rollouts.

Photos emerging out of Germany this week showed deserted vaccination rooms including the Erfurt exhibition centre in Germany where 2800 vaccination appointments per day were cancelled.

Germany's health minister Jens Spahn said the country's AstraZeneca vaccinations would resume on Friday, but will come with new advice on possible side effects, DW reported.

The vaccination centre at the Erfurt exhibition centre is deserted.
A deserted vaccination centre in Erfurt, Germany after concerns AstraZeneca was leading to blood clots in some people. Source: Getty

Australia welcomes AstraZeneca findings

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has welcomed the findings from the European agency.

"It's good news the AstraZeneca vaccine has been given the green light by European regulators," he told the ABC on Friday.

"Here in Australia, we're relying on the AstraZeneca vaccine."

Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said people could have absolute confidence in the safety of the vaccine, which will be given to most Australians, as well as the Pfizer jab.

More than six million Australians become eligible to receive their coronavirus vaccine next week.

The next phase includes people aged over 70, Indigenous Australians over 55, younger adults with a medical condition or disability, and workers deemed at critical or high risk.

Blood clot and vaccine link 'can't be ruled out'

The European Medicines Agency's (EMA) "clear" conclusion following an investigation into 30 cases of unusual blood disorders was that the vaccine's benefits in protecting people from coronavirus-related death or hospitalisation outweighs the possible risks.

It couldn't however rule out a possible link between blood clots in the brain and the shot.

The World Health Organisation on Thursday called on countries to continue using the vaccine, and is due to release the results of its own review into the vaccine's safety on Friday, the BBC reported.

with AAP and Reuters

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