Viruses: blood clots associated with AstraZeneca vaccine but the benefit outweighs
Blood clots must be listed as a “very rare” side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19, the European regulator acknowledged on Wednesday, while estimating that the benefit / risk balance remained “positive”.
British health authorities said for their part to have recorded the death of 19 people who received Oxford / AstraZeneca, out of a total of 79 cases of blood clots identified, and out of 20 million doses administered. They also ensure that the benefits of its use outweighed the dangers.
What the Anglo-Swedish laboratory AstraZeneca did not fail to point out on Wednesday, based on both the conclusions of the United Kingdom drug regulator (MHRA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
For the latter, which is headquartered in Amsterdam, “unusual blood clots associated with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects” of AstraZeneca.
No specific risk factors such as age, gender and medical history have been identified, noted EMA executive director Emer Cooke.
“A plausible explanation for these rare side effects is an immune response to the vaccine,” Cooke added, recalling that the vaccine is “very effective” and “saves lives”.
– “Plausible but not confirmed” –
A link between AstraZeneca and the appearance of a rare form of blood clots is “plausible but not confirmed”, for its part ruled Wednesday the World Health Organization.
“Specialized studies are needed to fully understand the potential relationship between vaccination and possible risk factors,” said WHO specialists.
They also note that these phenomena “although worrying are very rare”, more than 200 million people having received this vaccine in the world.
The scientific committee overseeing the Covid vaccination campaign in the United Kingdom has recommended limiting the use of AstraZeneca to people over 30 years of age when possible.
“Adults aged 18 to 29, who do not have a comorbidity that puts them at higher risk of a severe form of Covid-19 disease, should be offered another Covid-19 vaccine,” said Professor Wei Shen Lim, JCVI.
Belgium has also been cautious in deciding to reserve the AstraZeneca for those over 55, while Italy and Spain have set the limit at 60.
As for the region of Castile and Leon, in the north-west of Spain, it has suspended its use, like Denmark.
Several other countries of the European Union had already decided to no longer administer this vaccine below a certain age, such as France and Germany.
On this subject, European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides called on the 27 EU member states to “speak with one voice” on AstraZeneca, so as not to fuel mistrust.
– “Quasi-monopole” –
The United Kingdom has also announced that it is starting to use the vaccine from the American laboratory Moderna. “We have ordered 17 million doses of it,” tweeted Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In the United States, vaccination “is in full swing,” said President Joe Biden, assuring that from April 19 all American adults would be eligible for vaccination.
The most bereaved country in absolute terms by the pandemic, with more than 550,000 dead, the United States is at more than three million daily injections on average over the last seven days.
However, the number of daily infections has started to increase again and remains at a very high level (more than 74,000 new cases on Wednesday), especially in the state of Michigan.
Other countries such as Argentina, India, Qatar, Cuba and Tunisia have announced a strengthening of the restrictions in force in the hope of halting the increase in contamination.
Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, will be reconfigured from Thursday. Peru, for its part, has just recorded the highest number of deaths since the start of the pandemic (314).
In Brazil, more than 4,000 people died from Covid-19 on Tuesday alone and more than 3,800 on Wednesday.
The benchmark public health institute Fiocruz said on Tuesday that confinement was “absolutely necessary” to cope with the saturation of hospitals, which are in a “critical” situation in most states.
But far-right president Jair Bolsonaro excluded it: “There will be no national containment,” he insisted.
As for vaccines, while Amnesty International denounced the “virtual monopoly” of rich countries in access to immunization, Chile on Wednesday approved the emergency use of the Chinese vaccine CanSino Biologics.
The major financiers of the G20 member states have promised a further six-month extension, until the end of 2021, of the moratorium on the debt of the poorest nations.
Half of the approximately 680 million doses administered worldwide were in “high income” countries as defined by the World Bank (16% of the planet’s population), according to an AFP count from official data.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza on Wednesday denounced economic sanctions on his country, telling AFP that without them “three months ago we would have bought the 30 million vaccines the country needs”.
In addition, a study published in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry showed that one in three people who overcame Covid-19 suffered from neurological or psychiatric disorders within six months.
The pandemic has killed at least 2,874,984 people, according to an assessment established by AFP from official data.
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