From Associated Press - The European Union's drug regulatory agency announced today that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine does not appear to increase the overall occurrence of blood clots. The agency noted that the benefits of being vaccinated with it outweigh any potential risks.
Shortly after the announcement was made, France, Italy, and Germany announced that they will resume using the vaccine on Friday. Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands announced they will resume using the vaccine next week.
More than a dozen nations around the world suspended their use of AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine after approximately 37 recipients experienced dangerous blood clots shortly after being vaccinated. Some of those incidences resulted in death.
A spokeswoman from the safety committee of the European Medicines Agency stated, "This is a safe and effective vaccine." The European Medicines Agency then recommended adding descriptions of the clotting incidences to the vaccine leaflets for recipients to review and be made aware of before being vaccinated.
Shortly after today's news broke in the European Union, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. will send around 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Canada and 2.5 million doses to Mexico. Despite the AstraZeneca vaccine still not being approved for use in the US, this marks the first time Biden has agreed to share doses with other countries.
The expectation in exporting vaccines is that the US will export vaccines now, and Canada and Mexico will return doses to the US later this year. This agreement comes at a time when Canada and Mexico continue lagging far behind the US and many European countries on vaccine rollouts, as they have relied entirely on importing vaccines from other countries thus far.
The US has secured approximately 300 million AstraZeneca doses. The Biden administration has not disclosed how many of the doses have already been supplied, but a New York Times report from March 11 indicated that a facility in Ohio currently holds approximately 30 million doses.
Image from New Scientist