Brussels: AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine remains authorised for all populations, European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said.
The clarification camme after Italian newspaper La Stampa earlier quoted Marco Cavaleri, head of the EMA’s vaccine strategy, recommending a stop to administration of AstraZeneca’s Covid shots in Europe to people aged over 60 and younger age groups, amid fears over very rare blood clotting.
“Misinformation is making the rounds today. This is the situation: Benefit/risk balance of AstraZeneca #Covid19 vaccine is positive and it remains authorised for all populations,” the EMA said in a tweet on Sunday.
Cavaleri was also quoted by the newspaper advising the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine preferentially for the over-60s.
The European Union has approved AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for all populations aged 18 and above. However, both viral vector-based jabs have been marred by various reports of rare blood clots.
The EU has also authorised Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s mRNA based Covid-19 vaccines.
Asked by the newspaper whether it would be better to stop using AstraZeneca for all age groups, Cavaleri had said: “Yes, and it is an option that many countries, such as France and Germany, are considering in the light of the increased availability of mRNA vaccines.”
“However, incidents were very rare after the first dose. It is true that there is less data on the second dose, but in the United Kingdom it (the vaccination programme) is going well,” he added.
On June 11, Italy restricted the use of AstraZeneca doses to those aged 60 years and above, after a teenager who had received the shot died from a rare form of blood clotting.
In March, the two-dose vaccine was briefly halted by many European countries, including Italy, over concerns about the rare blood clotting problems.
But, its usage was resumed in April, after the EMA said its benefits outweighed any risks.