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WHO urges countries to continue roll out of AstraZeneca vaccines despite fears over blood clotting complications

Picture: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Picture: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Published Mar 17, 2021

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DURBAN - THE World Health Organization has called on countries to continue rolling out the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, despite some European countries halting their programmes, as a precautionary measure, due to reports of rare blood coagulation (clotting) disorders those who have been vaccinated.

Other countries in the EU, having considered the same information, have decided to continue using the vaccine in their immunisation programmes.

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The WHO said vaccination against Covid-19 would not reduce illness or deaths from other causes.

"Thromboembolic events are known to occur frequently. Venous thromboembolism is the third most common cardiovascular disease globally. In extensive vaccination campaigns, it is routine for countries to signal potential adverse events following immunisation," the WHO said.

It said that did not necessarily mean that the events were linked to vaccination, but it was good practice to investigate the claims.

The WHO said it also showed that the surveillance system worked and effective controls were in place.

The WHO said it was in regular contact with the European Medicines Agency and regulators across the world, for the latest information on Covid-19 vaccine safety.

The WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety is carefully assessing the latest available safety data for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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"Once that review is completed, we will immediately communicate the findings to the public.

At this time, the organisation considers that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh its risks and recommends that vaccinations continue.

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