Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

EU drug regulator to assess AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine risks on Thursday

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AMSTERDAM, March 16 (Reuters) - Europe's medicines watchdog will release results of its investigation into incidents of bleeding, blood clots and low platelet counts in recipients of AstraZeneca's (AZN.L) coronavirus vaccine on Thursday afternoon.

EMA Executive Director Emer Cooke on Tuesday said there was no indication that the incidents, which she called "very rare" had been caused by the vaccine, but that experts were assessing that possibility.

"The experts will meet again on Thursday to come to a conclusion and to advise whether there are any further actions that need to be taken", Cooke said at an online news conference.


Vials of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are seen at a medical center in Champigny, near Paris, as France's decision to suspend temporarily the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was taken in co-ordination with other European countries, March 16, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

"And we will inform the public of the outcome immediately after this meeting."

Trust in the safety of the vaccines was paramount and the agency was carrying out a case-by-case evaluation, she said.

"The benefits continue to outweigh the risks, but this is a serious concern and it does need serious and detailed scientific evaluation. This is what we are involved in at the moment," Cooke told a news conference.

Sweden and Latvia on Tuesday suspended use of the vaccine, bringing to more than a dozen the number of EU countries to act since reports first emerged of thromboembolisms affecting people after they got the AstraZeneca shot. read more

Reporting by Toby Sterling and Bart Meijer; writing by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Catherine Evans and Philippa Fletcher

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