Experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) will meet today to evaluate the safety of the Astrazeneca/Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine after 11 countries suspended the use of the jab.
Several EU countries have halted administering the vaccine after reports from Denmark and Norway of possible serious side effects, including bleeding and blood clots.
However, experts have said that the number of blood clots that have been reported are in line with the rate generally seen in the population.
Astrazeneca insists that there is no evidence of an increased risk of clotting due to the vaccine.
Up to this point, the WHO has agreed with the pharma giant, but vaccine specialists will now review the data.
“WHO’s advisory committee on vaccine safety has been reviewing the available data, is in close contact with the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and will meet tomorrow,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s executive director, said.
The EMA, which has backed the vaccine so far, is also meeting today. It is understood it will make a decision on the continued use of the vaccine on Thursday.
Thus far, 11 EU countries, including France, Germany, Spain, and Italy have all halted the rollout of Astrazeneca’s jab.
Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic and Ukraine, on the other hand, have said that they will continue to administer it.
Around 17m people in the UK and EU have already been given a shot of the vaccine. Astrazeneca said there had been 40 blood clots reported so far.