London: The British-Swedish pharmaceutical major and the UK's medicines regulator on Monday claimed that the vaccines produced by Oxford University in collaboration with AstraZeneca to protect against COVID-19 are safe.
It also said that no scientific evidence was found to allege that COVID 19 vaccine was the cause behind blood clots as reported in some European nations. The vaccines produced in the collaboration of Oxford University and AstraZeneca are being accused of some health consequences.
The interventions come as the Netherlands had suspended the use of vaccines after health consequences were reported. The Republic of Ireland, Bulgaria, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland too paused the further inoculation procedures. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine also has a tie-up with the Serum Institute of India.
"Around 17 million people in the EU and UK have now received our vaccine, and the number of cases of blood clots reported in this group is lower than the hundreds of cases that would be expected among the general population," Ann Taylor, Chief Medical Officer at AstraZeneca responded to the accusation
"The nature of the pandemic has led to increased attention in individual cases and we are going beyond the standard practices for safety monitoring of licensed medicines in reporting vaccine events, to ensure public safety," she further added.
The company stated that "safety is of paramount importance and the company is continually monitoring the safety of its vaccine."
They also added that "a careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union (EU) and the UK with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country."
As of March 8, the company received 15 events of DVT and 22 events of pulmonary embolism among the vaccine receivers across the EU and UK. AstraZeneca clarified that it is much lower than what would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed COVID-19 vaccines.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) backed this stance.
Dr Phil Bryan, MHRA Vaccines Safety Lead says "We are closely reviewing reports but given the large number of doses administered and the frequency at which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause. He added, "people should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so. The blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon and that the reports of blood clots received so far are not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population. The safety of the public will always come first. We are keeping this issue under close review but the available evidence does not confirm that the vaccine is the cause."
Pfizer/BioNTech or the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines are offered in the UK according to the age-wise cohorts. About 24 million people got inoculated with their first dose by the National Health Service (NHS).
Adults over 56 and people belonging to vulnerable medical categories are instructed to receive their slot of vaccination as soon as possible.