EU health agency to rule on troubled AstraZeneca jab

Europe's medical regulator is set to give its verdict on the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday, following a chaotic few weeks that has seen nations suspend its use over blood clot fears, AFP reports. 

There are "a number of options" open to scientists at the European Medicines Agency, its chief said earlier this week, including suspending approval for the jab in the EU, with the bloc's innoculation programme already scrambling for vaccines.

Despite more than a dozen countries pausing rollouts, the EMA says it has found "no indication" of a serious problem and that the number of post-jab blood clots is no higher than it is among the general, unvaccinated population.

The World Health Organization said Wednesday it was better to take the AstraZeneca vaccine than not -- adding that it was looking into available data on the shot.

The furore around the jab has marred the global vaccine drive aimed at ending a pandemic that has killed more than 2.6 million people, and comes as several countries report jumps in new cases.

France recorded its highest daily caseload in nearly four months Wednesday, with authorities set to announce measures affecting 18 million people, including a possible weekend lockdown for the hard-hit Paris region.

Caseloads are also spiking in Iraq and India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for "quick and decisive steps" to halt a new wave of infections in the world's second most populous country.

AstraZeneca's shot, among the cheapest available and easier to store and transport than some of its rivals has been billed as the vaccine of choice for poorer nations.

It is currently a vital part of Covax, which was set up to procure Covid-19 vaccines and ensure their equitable distribution around the world.

India said Wednesday it would continue to roll out the AstraZeneca jabs -- produced by its Serum Institute -- in its huge immunisation programme "with full vigour."

News.Az 

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