The European Medicines Supervisor expects to hold a press conference this week updating the public on his review of rare cases of blood clots in people who have received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
In an email response to questions, a spokeswoman for the European Medicines Agency said her pharmaceutical risk assessment committee “had not reached a conclusion” on its current vaccine safety review and expects to hold a conference press “as soon as the review is finalized,” either on April 7 or April 8.
UK regulator reports 30 cases of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine-related blood clots
The regulator has consistently said the benefits outweigh the risks as it investigates 44 reports of an extremely rare brain coagulation disease known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) from 9.2 million people in the European Economic Area who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The World Health Organization has also supported the vaccine.
As in Canada.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has since recommended that the vaccine not be given to those under the age of 55 because of concerns about blood clotting – but out of caution. However, the agency stands by the vaccine for those over that age, saying the benefits still clearly outweigh the risks.
To date, no cases of these events have been reported in Canada.
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Earlier Tuesday, the head of the EMA vaccine evaluation team, Marco Cavaleri, reportedly told an Italian daily, Il Messaggero, that there was a link between the vaccine and very rare blood clots in the brain, although the possible causes not yet known.
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Cavaleri said he was talking about his opinion. He gave no evidence to support his comment.
The EMA rejected that conclusion shortly afterwards, saying no determination had been reached in the vaccine safety review.
AAstraZenecaThe spokesman declined to comment on the matter to Reuters.
Health officials seek to reassure the skeptical public about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines
Last week, the EMA said its review had not currently identified any specific risk factors, such as age, gender or a previous medical history of clotting disorders, for these very rare events. A causal link to the vaccine has not been proven, but it is possible and further analysis is ongoing, the agency said.
A high percentage among the reported cases affects young and middle-aged women, but this did not lead the EMA to conclude that this group was particularly at risk of being hit by AstraZeneca.
Several countries, including France, Germany and the Netherlands, have suspended vaccine use among young people as investigations continue.
WHO says it continues to use AstraZeneca vaccine as some countries temporarily suspend distribution
Scientists are exploring several possibilities that could explain the extremely rare blood clots in the brain that have occurred in individuals in the days and weeks after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
European investigators have put forward a theory that the vaccine causes an unusual antibody in some rare cases; others are trying to figure out if the cases are related to birth control pills.
But many scientists say there is no conclusive evidence and it is not clear whether or why the AstraZeneca vaccine would cause an issue that is not separate from other vaccines targeting a similar part of the coronavirus.
– with Global News files
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