Doubts about AstraZeneca vaccine: WHO advocates continuation of vaccinations

As of March 12, 2021 2:09 p.m.

Due to concerns about blood clots as a result of an AstraZeneca vaccination, several countries no longer want to vaccinate with the vaccine for the time being. From the point of view of the WHO and the EMA, a mistake. Federal Minister of Health Spahn is also sticking to the active ingredient.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has spoken out in favor of continuing to vaccinate against the coronavirus with the active ingredient from AstraZeneca. Margaret Harris, spokeswoman for the WHO stressed that there is no reason not to use the vaccine.

The British-Swedish manufacturer’s vaccine had raised concerns after blood clots had formed in some people who had been vaccinated with the active ingredient. In one case, the clots could even have resulted in death. As a result, Denmark was the first to announce that it would suspend vaccinations with the agent for the time being. Norway and Iceland followed suit.

Despite rising infections, Bulgaria imposes a vaccination ban

Bulgaria also does not want to use the vaccine temporarily, despite the increasing number of infections in the country. According to the Johns Hopkins University, the country of around 6.9 million people recorded more than 3,100 new infections on Thursday compared to the previous day. The US Institute put the seven-day incidence in Bulgaria at 248.3. Corona measures have therefore been tightened again in 16 of the 28 Bulgarian regions. Middle schools, high schools and universities are only allowed to hold distance learning, theaters and cinemas have to close and business conferences or meetings have been prohibited since Friday.

Nevertheless, the Bulgarian Health Minister Kostadin Angelow insists on a clear statement from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) before the AstraZeneca vaccine is to be administered again in addition to the vaccines from BionTech, Pfizer and Moderna.

EMA advocates further use of the active ingredient

Both the EMA and the WHO have announced detailed investigations. So far, both institutions emphasize, there is no evidence that there is a connection between the AstraZeneca vaccination and the blood clots. The EMA had already called for continued use of the active ingredient, as the benefits of the vaccine would outweigh the risks.

An assessment shared by both the Paul Ehrlich Institute and the Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn in Germany. Spahn said he regretted that some countries had temporarily stopped vaccinations. At the same time, the federal government takes the reports about the concerns “very, very seriously”. However, it is very important to distinguish between a purely temporal relationship between a vaccination and a thrombosis and a causal relationship.

There are still uncertainties about vaccine deliveries

When it comes to vaccination, the federal government is still under pressure. Most recently, together with the federal states, the decision was made that vaccinations should also be carried out in general practitioners’ practices by the week of April 19 at the latest. But for that you need enough vaccination doses – and according to Spahn it is not yet certain with some manufacturers how much they can deliver to the Federal Republic in the coming month.

The planning with the BioNTech and Pfizer groups worked out best. The companies have announced around nine million doses of the jointly developed vaccine for April. And in the entire second quarter, 40 million of the 60 million vaccine doses expected for Germany are to come from the two groups.

According to Spahn, planning at the US manufacturer Moderna and AstraZeneca is not yet on such firm footing. Patience is apparently also required with regard to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was approved in the EU on Thursday. The federal government has ordered ten million vaccine doses for the second quarter. But the first deliveries from the US manufacturer are likely to be expected in mid or late April at the earliest, according to Spahn.

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