Health

AstraZeneca says its vaccine review found no evidence of increased blood clot risks

AstraZeneca on Sunday said it had conducted a review of people vaccinated with its COVID-19 vaccine which has shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.

Drug maker's review covered more than 17 million people vaccinated in the EU, U.K.

AstraZeneca Plc on Sunday said it had conducted a review of people vaccinated with its COVID-19 vaccine which has shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

AstraZeneca Plc on Sunday said it had conducted a review of people vaccinated with its COVID-19 vaccine which has shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.

The review covered more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and United Kingdom.

"A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and U.K. with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country," the statement said.

Authorities in Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands have suspended the use of the vaccine over clotting issues, while Austria stopped using a batch of AstraZeneca-Oxford shots last week while investigating a death from coagulation disorders.

Ireland on Sunday temporarily suspended AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine "out of an abundance of caution."

The drug maker said additional testing has and is being conducted by the company and the European health authorities and none of the re-tests have shown cause for concern.

There are also no confirmed issues related to quality of any of its COVID-19 vaccine batches used across Europe and rest of the world, the company said.

Health Canada says no issues with vaccine reported

While other countries paused use of the vaccine, Health Canada has maintained there is "no indication" the vaccine causes blood clots, adding that no adverse events from AstraZeneca doses have been reported in Canada so far.

"Health Canada authorized the vaccine based on a thorough, independent review of the evidence and determined that it meets Canada's stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements," the department said on March 11. 

Canada is one of many countries, including Germany, France, Poland, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom who continue to use the vaccine, citing a lack of any evidence of a link to blood clots.

WATCH | Reassurance on safety of AstraZeneca-Oxford's vaccine:

Benefits outweigh risks with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, experts say

The National

2 months ago
2:01
Despite some European countries temporarily halting use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine after 30 cases of blood clots, experts maintain it is still safe to use in Canada. 2:01

There has been some confusion, however, related to Canada's position on who should take the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended last week that Canadians over 65 not receive an AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccination despite emerging evidence from countries around the world demonstrating its ability to prevent severe COVID-19 in older adults.

The recommendation led provinces to reorganize their vaccination plans for seniors. The result was people aged 60-64 could receive AstraZeneca-Oxford shots ahead of older age groups, who are at greater risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

Quebec is the only province so far to ignore the national recommendations. Officials there said this week they would administer the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to seniors in direct contrast to what the province considers outdated NACI advice.

With files from CBC News

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