AU says benefits outweigh risks of AstraZeneca Covid-19 shot

18 March 2021 - 12:47 By Reuters
The AU said on Thursday it considers the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine to outweigh the risks and recommended that vaccinations continue across the continent. File photo.
The AU said on Thursday it considers the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine to outweigh the risks and recommended that vaccinations continue across the continent. File photo.
Image: Joe Giddens/Pool via Reuters

The AU said on Thursday it considers the benefits of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine to outweigh the risks and recommended that vaccinations continue across the continent.

The announcement came a day after the World Health Organisation (WHO) backed the vaccine and as more than a dozen European countries have suspended the use of it amid concerns over the risk of blood clots.

Dr John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, told a news conference the “benefits still outweigh the risks” and countries should “move forward” with the vaccination.

AstraZeneca said on Sunday a review of safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the UK and EU with its vaccine had shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.

The head of the continent's disease control body said adverse reactions would be monitored and reported for future assessments on the vaccine.

Some African countries have already suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

On Friday the Democratic Republic of the Congo delayed the rollout of the shot, citing the suspension of the use of the shots by European countries.

Many African states expect to receive AstraZeneca shots from the Covax facility, a global vaccine allocation plan co-led by WHO and partners including the Gavi vaccines alliance, which will be delivering vaccines for free to some low and lower-middle-income countries.

The European Medicines Agency is investigating reports of 30 cases of unusual blood disorders out of 5 million people who got the AstraZeneca vaccine in the EU. It said it has so far found no causal link.


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