It has tremendous potential: WHO on AstraZeneca jab


The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine (including Covishield) continues to have a positive benefit-risk profile, with tremendous potential to prevent infections and reduce deaths across the world.

In a statement on Friday, the WHO said that based on available data the review team found no increased risk of blood clotting conditions in people who received the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.

The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) Covid-19 subcommittee met virtually on March 16-19 to review available information and data on thromboembolic events (blood clots) and thrombocytopenia (low platelets) after vaccination with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

The subcommittee reviewed clinical trial data and reports based on safety data from Europe, the UK, India, and Vigibase, the WHO global database of individual case safety reports.

According to the statement, the available data do not suggest an overall increase in clotting conditions such as deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism following administration of Covid-19 vaccines.

“Reported rates of thromboembolic events after Covid-19 vaccines are in line with the expected number of diagnoses of these conditions. Both conditions occur naturally and are not uncommon. They also occur as a result of Covid-19. The observed rates have been fewer than expected for such events,” the WHO said.

So far, more than 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered in Europe and more than 27 million doses of the Covishield vaccine (AstraZeneca vaccine by Serum Institute of India) have been administered in India.

“The sub-committee will continue to review the safety data from all Covid-19 vaccines and update any advice as necessary,” WHO said.

This week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) deemed the AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab “safe and effective”.

The EMA statement came after an extensive review of possible blood clot risks, the agency’s chief said on Thursday, following reports that some people had developed blood clots in the period after having the injection.

France, Italy, Latvia and Bulgaria announced they would likely restart vaccinations using the AstraZeneca jab on Friday following the EMA advice.