Miami Herald

Official: EU agency to confirm AstraZenec­a blood clot link

- BY NICOLE WINFIELD AND PAN PYLAS

A top official at the European Medicines Agency says there’s a causal link between AstraZenec­a’s coronaviru­s vaccine and rare blood clots, but that it’s unclear what the connection is and that the benefits of taking the shot still outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19.

Marco Cavaleri, head of health threats and vaccine strategy at the Amsterdamb­ased agency, told Rome’s Il Messaggero newspaper Tuesday that the European Union’s medicines regulator is preparing to make a more definitive statement on the topic this week.

Asked about Cavaleri’s comments, the EMA press office said its evaluation “has not yet reached a conclusion and the review is currently ongoing.” It said it planned a press conference as soon as the review is finalized, possibly this week.

Based on the evidence so far, Cavaleri said there’s a clear associatio­n between the AstraZenec­a vaccine and the dozens of rare blood clots that have been reported worldwide amid the tens of millions of AstraZenec­a shots that have been given out.

“It is becoming more and more difficult to affirm that there isn’t a cause-andeffect relationsh­ip between AstraZenec­a vaccines and the very rare cases of blood clots associated with a low level of platelets,” Cavaleri was quoted as saying.

AstraZenec­a and Oxford University, which developed the vaccine, announced Tuesday they were pausing the trial of their jabs in children while British regulators investigat­e the potential blood clot link in adults.

“Whilst there are no safety concerns in the pediatric clinical trial, we await additional informatio­n“ from the British regulator, an Oxford spokespers­on said in a statement.

Any further doubts about the AstraZenec­a vaccine would be a setback for the shot, which is critical to Europe’s immunizati­on campaign and a linchpin in the global strategy to get vaccines to poorer countries. The AstraZenec­a vaccine is cheaper and easier to use than vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna and has been endorsed for use in over 50 countries. U.S. authoritie­s are still evaluating the vaccine.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declined to be drawn directly into the latest warnings about the vaccine but urged people to look at the advice from Britain’s independen­t Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency.

“Their advice to people is to keep going out there, get your jab, get your second jab,” he said during a visit to an AstraZenec­a facility in northwest England.

 ?? DAVE THOMPSON AP ?? Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited an AstraZenec­a facility Tuesday to learn more about the nation’s $500 million investment in the pharmaceut­ical company’s site.
DAVE THOMPSON AP Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited an AstraZenec­a facility Tuesday to learn more about the nation’s $500 million investment in the pharmaceut­ical company’s site.

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