Brussels (Brussels Morning) The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said there is no scientific evidence to support restricting the use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by British-Swedish AstraZeneca at this time, DW reported on Wednesday.
EMA Executive Director Emer Cooke pointed out that the agency will continue looking into reports of blood clots, but reiterated that EMA has not found a causal link between the vaccine and blood clots.
“According to the current scientific knowledge, there is no evidence that would support restricting the use of this vaccine in any population,” Cooke concluded.
Some have imposed restrictions
Germany suspended the use of the AstraZeneca shot in March, only to lift the suspension for some age groups later on.
Several EU member states have temporarily halted the use of the shot for some age groups, citing the risk of blood clots.
According to EMA’s data, rare blood clots occurred in 4.8 cases per million AstraZeneca shots administered. This compared to 0.2 cases per million for Pfizer-BioNTech and zero for Moderna. In the case of the latter, EMA suggested this was likely because the Moderna vaccine is not widely used in Europe.
However, Thomas Mertens, chair of the German Standing Committee on Vaccination at the Robert Koch Institute, maintains that the age group restriction was necessary. “We have our own very solid data on this point,” he said, while noting that he was “not at all happy about this decision” even though, given the available data, it was necessary.
Mertens pointed out that doses would be reassigned from one group to another, saying he hoped the move would not significantly affect the country’s vaccination campaign.
Germany reported 31 blood clot cases in the week up to 29 March, representing a 100% increase compared to the period up to 22 March.
EMA noted it found 62 such cases worldwide in the period up to 22 March.