'No indication' AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine linked to blood clots, says European Medicines Agency

There is “no indication” that the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has been the cause of a series of blot clots reported in European countries, the head of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said.

The regulator is conducting a full scientific review of the AstraZeneca jab after the incidents were reported, but said it currently “remains convinced” that the “benefits of this vaccine outweigh the risk”.

Countries including Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Ireland have temporarily stopped administering doses as a precaution while further checks are made.

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Around 30 cases of blood clots had been reported to the EMA by March 10, among almost five million people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jag in Europe.

“I want to stress at present there is no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions,” said Emer Cooke, executive director of the EMA on Tuesday.

“They have not come up in the clinical trials and they are not listed as known side events with this vaccine.

“In clinical trials both vaccinated people and people who received the placebo have shown some very small number of blood clot developments.

“The number of thromboembolic events overall in vaccinated people seems not to be higher than that seen in the general population.”

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Some countries have suspended use of a particular batch of the jab due to concerns, but Ms Cooke said the small number of reports from Europe involved several batches and “therefore it is unlikely to be something related to a specific batch”.

The EMA is to give a further report on Thursday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs on Tuesday that she has been “paying very close attention” to the issue.

“As I understand that there is no definite association or causation between the vaccine and those who have had blood clots,” she said.

“The advice from the MHRA, the UK regulator, is that the risks are far outweighed by the benefits.”

Professor Neil Mabbott, Personal Chair of Immunopathology at Edinburgh University’s Roslin Institute, told the Scotsman people “should not be concerned”.

"It's perfectly understandable that people might have concerns about this,” he said.

"But I would say not to be concerned. These vaccines appear to be remarkably safe, and will provide good protection against Covid-19. The incidence of blood clotting is the kind of level we'd expect in the population.”

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