More countries pause vaccine roll-out for fear of potential clot risks


Vials labelled with partially torn sticker "AstraZeneca COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" are seen in front of a displayed EU flag in this illustration taken March 15, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Officials from the United Nations and European Union are to hold talks as the temporary suspension of deployment of the AstraZeneca novel coronavirus vaccine continues to spread across the EU, because of fears that it may be connected to cases of blood clotting.

Its suspension, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, or WHO, "does not necessarily mean these events are linked to vaccination, but it's routine practice to investigate them, and it shows that the surveillance system works and that effective controls are in place".

At the same time as EU countries are increasingly expressing doubts about the vaccine made by the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced a deal for what she called the "accelerated delivery" of 10 million doses of the vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, for the second quarter of the year.

"This will bring the total deliveries of this vaccine to 200 million doses for that quarter," she tweeted. "It will give (EU) Member States room to manoeuvre and possibly fill gaps in deliveries."

Germany, France, Portugal and Spain have become the latest countries to join a growing list of countries that have called a temporary halt to use of the vaccine, despite reassurances from the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, that there is no link between the vaccine and a small number of cases of people who developed blood clots after receiving it.

Germany's Health Minister Jens Spahn said the "precautionary" measure was taken after consultation with national health regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), adding that "the decision is a professional, not political one" and that any further decision on its use would be made based on new information coming from the EMA.

"After new reports of thrombroses of the cerebral veins in connection with the vaccination in Germany and Europe, the PEI considers further investigations to be necessary," said a statement from the health ministry. "The most important thing for confidence is transparency," Spahn added.

French President Emmanuel Macron also announced a temporary halt to its use on Monday. "The decision that was taken, in accordance with our European policy, is to suspend as a precaution the vaccination with AstraZeneca, hoping to resume it as soon as possible if the opinion is favorable," he explained. Macron made the comments at a Franco-Spanish summit, which took place as Spain too stopped using the vaccine for at least a fortnight.

The WHO said on Monday that its Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety would meet on Tuesday, and has been in close contact with the EMA, which has in turn said it will make an announcement about the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday, which it hopes will bring the matter to a conclusion.

"EMA currently remains of the view that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalization and death, outweigh the risks of side effects," the organization said in a statement.

Better news for AstraZeneca has come from Australia, where the country's chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, says there is no link between the vaccine and blood clots.

However, the only vaccine manufacturer in the country, CSL, has said it is in talks with the Australian government about producing alternatives to the AstraZeneca jab.

"While CSL remains open to discussions about manufacture of alternative COVID-19 vaccines, our resources are fully committed to the manufacture of the AstraZeneca vaccine," the company's chief scientific officer, Andrew Nash, told The Guardian.

在这幅摄于2021年3月15日的插图中,标有“阿斯利康新冠肺炎冠状病毒疫苗”的小瓶被部分撕开,出现在展示的欧盟旗帜前。[图片/机构]联合国和欧盟官员将举行会谈,因为阿斯利康新型冠状病毒疫苗的临时暂停部署继续在欧盟蔓延,因为担心它可能与血液凝固病例有关。世界卫生组织(World Health Organization,简称WHO)总干事特德罗斯·阿德哈诺姆·格布雷耶苏斯(Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus)表示,暂停疫苗接种“并不一定意味着这些事件与疫苗接种有关,但调查它们是常规做法,这表明监测系统是有效的,有效的控制措施是到位的”。与此同时,欧盟国家越来越多地对这家英国-瑞典制药公司生产的疫苗表示怀疑,欧盟委员会主席乌尔苏拉·冯·德·莱恩宣布了一项协议,她称之为今年第二季度“加速交付”由生物技术公司和辉瑞公司开发的1000万剂疫苗。“这将使该季度该疫苗的总交付量达到2亿剂,”她在推特上说。"这将为(欧盟)成员国提供回旋余地,并可能填补交付方面的空白."越来越多的国家呼吁暂时停止使用这种疫苗,德国、法国、葡萄牙和西班牙是最新加入这一行列的国家,尽管欧洲药品管理局(EMA)保证,这种疫苗与少数接受疫苗后出现血凝块的人没有联系。德国卫生部长延斯·斯派恩表示,这一“预防性”措施是在与国家卫生监管机构保罗·埃尔利希研究所(PEI)协商后采取的,并补充说,“这是一个专业的决定,而不是政治决定”,任何关于其使用的进一步决定都将基于来自欧洲药品管理局的新信息。“在德国和欧洲出现了与疫苗接种有关的脑静脉血栓的新报告后,爱德华王子岛省认为有必要进行进一步的调查,”卫生部的一份声明说。“对信心来说,最重要的是透明度,”斯派恩补充道。法国总统埃马纽埃尔·马克龙周一也宣布暂时停止使用。他解释说:“根据我们的欧洲政策,作为预防措施,我们决定暂停阿斯利康的疫苗接种,希望如果意见有利,尽快恢复接种。”马克龙是在法国-西班牙峰会上发表上述言论的,当时西班牙也停止使用疫苗至少两周。世卫组织周一表示,其疫苗安全全球咨询委员会将于周二举行会议,并一直与欧洲药品管理局保持密切联系,欧洲药品管理局反过来表示,将于周四宣布阿斯利康疫苗的事宜,希望这将结束此事。该组织在一份声明中表示:“欧洲药品管理局目前仍然认为,阿斯利康疫苗在预防新冠肺炎方面的益处,以及相关的住院和死亡风险,超过了副作用的风险。”。对阿斯利康来说,更好的消息来自澳大利亚,该国首席医疗官保罗·凯利说,疫苗和血凝块之间没有联系。然而,该国唯一的疫苗制造商CSL表示,它正在与澳大利亚政府就生产阿斯利康疫苗的替代品进行谈判。该公司首席科学官安德鲁·纳什(Andrew Nash)对《卫报》表示:“尽管CSL方面对生产替代性新冠肺炎疫苗的讨论持开放态度,但我们的资源完全用于生产阿斯利康疫苗。”。

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