The world is waiting for the results of an initial European Union investigation into whether there is any evidence that the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is linked to blood clots reported in small numbers of recipients of the jab.
Concerns over the clotting led more than a dozen European countries to suspend use of the vaccine over the past week, even though the company and international health agencies said there were no indications the vaccine caused the clotting and recommended continuing inoculations.
The EU drug regulator’s expert committee was expected to report its analysis on Thursday, including whether any new precautions should be taken regarding the vaccine.
While many countries have continued to use the vaccine, there are concerns the debate could seriously undermine confidence in the shot, which is key to efforts to vaccinate the world’s population especially in poorer countries.
The head of the European Medicines Agency said this week that the drug regulator’s priority is confirming the product is safe and that it would consider a range of actions, including the addition of extra warnings to the vaccine.
“We are worried that there may be an effect on the trust of the vaccines,” Executive Director Emer Cooke said.
“But our job is to make sure that the products that we authorise are safe and we can be trusted by the European citizens.”
Blood clots have been reported in 37 people among the 17 million who have received at least one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe.