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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

International regulatory agencies back safety and efficacy of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Health Industry Hub | March 19, 2021 |

Pharma News: Today the UK and EU regulatory bodies Medicines Health Regulatory Authority (MHRA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) reaffirmed the benefits of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca continue to far outweigh the risks.

Earlier today, the MHRA announced their review of the small number of thromboembolic events (blood clots) in over 11 million people who received COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in the UK. The UK regulator confirmed that the benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19 far outweigh the risks, and people should continue to get vaccinated when asked to do so.

Following the rigorous scientific review, the MHRA concluded there is no evidence that blood clots in veins are occurring more than would be expected in the absence of vaccination. A detailed review of five UK reports of a very rare and specific type of blood clot in the cerebral veins (sinus vein thrombosis) occurring together with lowered platelets (thrombocytopenia) is ongoing. This has been reported in fewer than one in a million people vaccinated so far in the UK, and can also occur naturally – a causal association with the vaccine has not been established.

Subsequently, the EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) concluded there was no increase in the overall risk of blood clots (thromboembolic events) with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. However, the PRAC also concluded that, for very rare cases of serious thromboembolic events with thrombocytopenia, a causal link with the vaccine is not proven, but is possible and deserves further analysis. Furthermore, there was no evidence of a problem related to specific batches of the vaccine or to particular manufacturing sites.

AstraZeneca will continue to work closely with health authorities to ensure the appropriate use of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. The Company recognises and will implement the recommendations of the PRAC, including the update of the product information, whilst continuing to understand the nature and relevance of these events to ensure the safe delivery of the vaccine continues during this public health crisis. Analysis of AstraZeneca’s safety database on tens of millions of records for COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca did not show that these events occurred any more commonly than would be expected in millions of people.

Dr Ann Taylor, Chief Medical Officer of AstraZeneca, said “Vaccine safety is paramount and we welcome the regulators’ decisions which affirm the overwhelming benefit of our vaccine in stopping the pandemic. We trust that, after the regulators’ careful decisions, vaccinations can once again resume across Europe.”

Earlier this week Australia experts Professor Bruce Thompson, Dean of the School of Health Sciences at Swinburne University, and Associate Professor Paul Griffin from University of Queensland and Director of Infectious Diseases at Mater Health Services also declared a ‘no indication’ that AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine was linked to blood clots.


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