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EU regulators update vaccine findings

A patient receives the AstraZeneca vaccine in Falkensee, Germany, on Wednesday. Associated Press/Photo by Jens Kalaene/dpa

EU regulators update vaccine findings

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Wednesday declined to impose new restrictions on the COVID-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca. The agency said a “possible link” exists between the vaccine and blood clots experienced by a small number of recipients, and the drugmaker should list it as a potential side effect. But the EMA said the risk of death from COVID-19 is “much greater” than from the clots, which were extremely rare and mostly occurred in women under 60 within two weeks of vaccination. The European Union commissioned more research to confirm the specific causes of the blood clots and patient risk factors.

How have countries responded? The United Kingdom’s drug regulation agency announced the same conclusion on Wednesday: Evidence that the vaccine could cause blood clotting is stronger, but the benefits of getting the shot still outweigh the risks. Last month, more than a dozen countries paused use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but most later resumed distribution, some with additional age restrictions. Abandoning the shot would significantly delay the European vaccination campaign. AstraZeneca’s formula is cheaper and easier to store than others and an essential part of the United Nations’ COVAX program.

Dig deeper: Read Mindy Belz’s report on COVAX.

Charissa Koh

Charissa is a WORLD reporter who often writes about poverty-fighting and criminal justice. She resides with her family in Atlanta.


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