The opinion of the WHOThe Global Vaccine Safety Advisory Committee (GACVS) follows a review of the latest information from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), UK regulatory body MHRA and other countries.
The EMA concluded that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine, while the MHRA said the evidence for a link “is stronger, but it there is still work to be done ”. The UK has announced that it will offer an alternative to people under 30.
“Based on current information, a cause and effect relationship between the vaccine and the occurrence of low platelet count blood clots is considered plausible but not confirmed. Specialized studies are needed to fully understand the potential relationship between vaccination and possible risk factors, ”said the WHO subcommittee in a provisional declaration.
Very rare cases
The AstraZeneca vaccine constitutes a large part of the portfolio of COVAX global solidarity initiative, which has already shipped more than 36 million doses worldwide to more than 86 countries.
Although of concern, cases of blood clotting are very rare, as low numbers have been reported among the nearly 200 million people worldwide who have received the vaccine, the statement said.
“Rare adverse events following vaccination should be weighed against the risk of death COVID-19[female[feminine disease and the potential of vaccines to prevent infections and reduce disease deaths, ”the subcommittee said.
The statement underscored the importance of vaccines against a disease that has killed some 2.6 million people worldwide and which, like all drugs, can have side effects.
Risk vs benefit
“The administration of vaccines is based on a risk versus benefit analysis,” the subcommittee said.
Meanwhile, WHO is closely monitoring the rollout of all COVID-19 vaccines and will continue to work with countries to manage potential risks.
“In large-scale vaccination campaigns, it is normal for countries to identify potential adverse events after vaccination,” the statement said. “This does not necessarily mean that the events are related to the vaccination itself, but they must be investigated to ensure that any safety concerns are resolved quickly.”