Australia has said it’s going to keep rolling out the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine despite the decision from the biggest European nations to suspend use over unconfirmed reports of side effects.
Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Portugal have announced each country will be suspending the rollout of the AstraZeenca vaccine over after claims that some people who got AstraZeneca vaccine have formed blood clots.
Most of the these countries are waiting on further assessment from the European Medicines Agency which is meeting later this week.
But Australia has bucked the trend, with Josh Frydenberg doubling down by saying the country will continue administering the vaccine due to a lack of evidence supporting the link between blood cots and the shot.
“The European equivalent of the TGA [Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration] as well as the World Health Organization have said the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective, and there’s no evidence of causation between the vaccine itself and the blood clots,” Frydenberg told Radio National this morning.
Should these European countries be worried about the AstraZeneca vaccine?
AstraZeneca says that there have been 37 reports of blood clots among those Europeans who have been given the AstraZeneca vaccine.
But that’s among 17 million people who’ve been given the shot.
It’s unclear if these blood clots have anything to do with the vaccine. Symptoms like blood clots or other potential side effects also naturally occur in the general population, and sometimes there might be a cluster of a condition just out of dumb luck. As other countries continue to roll it out, there’ll be more data that will provide more information.
The World Health Organization and UK drugs regulators are both still supporting the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Even the European Medicines Agency says that the shot should still be administered, given the damage that COVID-19 can cause.
Overall, it seems that these countries have jumped the gun out of an abundance of caution. In a few days, we’ll know more but for now the evidence supports continuing to give Australians the AstraZeneca vaccine.