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WHO says AstraZeneca vaccination should continue as more countries stop using it

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As the growing list of countries discontinues the Oxford University-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine amid unfounded concerns about deadly blood tissue, the World Health Organization (WHO) has offered assurances that the safety of the vaccine is being investigated and that there is no cause for concern. ,

“More than 335 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been injected worldwide so far, and it has been found that no deaths have been caused by COVID-19 vaccine,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adanom Hebreas told a briefing in Geneva on Friday.

“We must continue to vaccinate until the cause and effect are known,” said Mariangela Simao, WTO Assistant Director-General, adding that regulators were investigating and that the body was expected to issue a statement by mid-next week.

“People are dying every day,” Simao said. “There will be immunized people who die from other causes.”

WHO Chief Scientist Sumya Swaminathan noted that the number of deaths and adverse reactions should be compared with those recorded in the general population. “It may be completely irrelevant, but it is reported because people are watching closely,” he said.

This week, Italy, Romania and Thailand joined at least eight other European countries by discontinuing injections or in certain batches or as part of a general freeze, citing possible adverse events, while the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the WHO are looking into the matter.

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The vaccine concern, developed by researchers at a well-known British university է marketed by a British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant, is linked to a woman in Austria who was diagnosed with blood clots and died 10 days later. vaccinated.

Deaths from blood-borne vaccine have also been reported in Denmark and Italy, although there have been no deaths from the vaccine.

No vaccine approved for use in Europe or the United States has been directly linked to death, even in clinical trials. AstraZeneca is not yet authorized in the United States, but a decision will be made next month when the results of the first large-scale tests in the United States will be announced.

In a statement this week, AstraZeneca said that “the safety of the vaccine has been extensively studied in phase III clinical trials, and the vaccine is generally well tolerated.”

The European Union’s Drug Enforcement Administration (EMA) said on Friday it was investigating reports of blood clots following the AstraZeneca vaccine, but said “there is no indication that the vaccine caused those conditions, which are not listed as side effects with the vaccine”.

“The benefits of the vaccine continue to outweigh its risks,” the EMA said in a statement.

Simao says the research focuses on two batches of AstraZeneca produced in Europe, does not affect vaccine emissions through COVAX Facility, an international attempt to distribute vaccines in India using doses made in South Korea.

In some European countries, the decision to discontinue the use of AstraZeneca dealt a new blow to the spread of vaccines on the continent, which was significantly slower than in the United States and neighboring Britain. EU leaders have criticized the manufacturer for the delays.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is one of four vaccines approved in 27 countries in the European Union և it was considered a potential source of global vaccine absorption because it is stored և cheaper: spreads և more easily.

But in some parts of Europe, the vaccine has been less absorbed than its competitors, in part because some regulators were initially hesitant about it, given the limited early data on its effectiveness in people over the age of 65.

While several European countries have stopped distributing certain batches of vaccines, they say it is only a preventative measure. Italian authorities said on Thursday that no link had been made between the vaccine and the “serious adverse events” that followed.

On Friday, Thailand announced that it was postponing its vaccination program using the AstraZeneca vaccine, citing European reports. The campaign was supposed to start on Friday, when the prime minister receives the first shot.

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Cunningham reports from Istanbul.

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