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Sunday, Apr 11, 2021

Italy, Spain and France announce they will renew AstraZeneca rollout

Italy, Spain and France announce they will renew AstraZeneca rollout

France, Spain and Italy have announced they will resume the Oxford/AstraZenecavaccine rollout after the jab was deemed “safe and effective” by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the country would resume using the jab on Friday, adding he will receive the vaccine in the afternoon.

“The AstraZeneca Covid-19 is effective, as underlined by the European regulator. It only has relatively rare side effects … it has a positive risk/reward ratio,” Mr Castex said.

Spanish authorities said they will continue the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine next week while Italy is resuming its use from as early as Friday.

Latvia, Lithuania and Cyprus have also announced they will resume the vaccine rollout.

However Sweden said it would extend the its pause of the AstraZeneca vaccine until next week as authorities highlighted the case of a previously healthy woman who died about a week after being vaccinated with the jab.

Meanwhile, Ireland will announce a decision on the jab on Friday, deputy chief medical officer Ronan Glynn said.

More than a dozen European nations halted its use earlier this week amid concern over reports of blood clots among a small number of people who have received it.

That led to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to launch an investigation into the cases. On Thursday afternoon, the regulator declared the Covid-19 vaccine is “safe and effective”, leading a string of EU countries to announce it would resume using the jab as early.

The European regulator said it “cannot rule out definitively” a link between “a small number of cases of rare and unusual but very serious blood clotting disorders” and the vaccine, though investigations were ongoing.

European Medicines Agency (EMA) Executive Director, Emer Cooke, appears on screen during a video conference in Brussels

Emer Cooke, EMA executive director, said this situation was not unexpected, adding that “when you vaccinate millions of people” such reports of rare events will occur.

Around 20 million people in the UK and Europe had received the vaccine and the EMA had received reports of just seven cases of blood clots in multiple blood vessels and 18 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) – which prevents blood from draining out of the brain, it said.

The EMA has concluded there is no overall increase in the risk of blood clots with the vaccine, and in fact it is likely to reduce the overall risk of clots.

Ms Cooke, who said she would personally take the vaccine, told a press briefing: “The committee has come to a clear scientific conclusion.

“This is a safe and effective vaccine. Its benefits in protecting people from Covid-19, with the associated risks of death and hospitalisation, outweigh the possible risks.

“The committee also concluded that the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of thromboembolic events, or blood clots.”

It comes after it emerged five men in the UK have suffered an “extremely rare” blood clot problem after having the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, though no causal link with the jab has been established.

The men, aged 19 to 59, have experienced a specific type of blood clot in the brain together with low blood platelet count. One of the five has since died.

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