WHO panel gives nod to AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, has 'tremendous potential'

AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine continues to have "a positive benefit-risk profile", the WHO panel said. PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (REUTERS) - The World Health Organisation's (WHO's) vaccine safety panel said on Friday (March 19) that available data from AstraZeneca's Covid-19 shot do not point to any overall increase in clotting conditions but it would continue to monitor for any adverse effects.

"The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine (including Covishield) continues to have a positive benefit-risk profile, with tremendous potential to prevent infections and reduce deaths across the world," the WHO's global advisory committee on vaccine safety said in a statement.

Covishield refers to AstraZeneca vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India.

The WHO panel of 12 independent experts, who met virtually on Tuesday and on Thursday, reviewed safety data from Europe, the United Kingdom, India, and WHO's global database.

"While very rare and unique thromboembolic events in combination with thrombocytopenia, such as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), have also been reported following vaccination with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Europe, it is not certain that they have been caused by vaccination," it said.

Europe was pushing to get its vaccination drive back on track on Friday after European and British regulators had also said the benefits of AstraZeneca's shot outweighed risks.

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