António Costa says AstraZeneca vaccine doubts are resolved

  • Lusa
  • 19 March 2021

After the EMA concluded that the AstraZeneca vaccine "is safe and effective," Costa says it is "essential to maintain a coordinated action between the EU member states around the European Commission."

Portugal’s prime minister said on Friday that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has clarified “all doubts” about AstraZeneca’s covid-19 vaccine, considering it safe, and called for member states to unite around the European Commission.

António Costa conveyed these positions on his personal Twitter account after the EMA concluded that the AstraZeneca vaccine “is safe and effective” and is not associated with the cases of blood clot formation that led to the suspension of its use in more than a dozen European countries.

“The EMA has cleared up all doubts about AstraZeneca’s vaccine, considering it safe and effective against covid-19,” the prime minister stressed.

Costa then pointed out that, from a political point of view, “it is essential to maintain a coordinated action between the European Union member states around the European Commission, to strengthen the confidence of Europeans, indispensable to the success of the vaccination process”.

Portuguese health authorities decided today to resume the administration of AstraZeneca’s vaccines against Covid-19, three days after the announcement of a temporary suspension due to reports in several countries of cases of blood clots in vaccinated people.

“The vaccination plan has been paused concerning AstraZeneca’s vaccine and will be put back on track from Monday. We will resume the plan, accelerating it and recovering the delay of these four or five days without AstraZeneca vaccination,” said the coordinator of the ‘task force’ for vaccination against covid-19, Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo.

After an investigation in recent days by the European regulator’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee, EMA executive director Emer Cooke explained that the administration of AstraZeneca’s vaccine “is not associated with an increased risk of thromboembolic events responsible for blood clots” in vaccinated people.

Emer Cooke stressed that these were “rare but quite serious” episodes out of a total of more than seven million people vaccinated in the European Union with AstraZeneca’s drug and 11 million in the UK. “People can trust the vaccine”, assured Emer Cooke, stressing that these are not “unexpected cases because millions and millions of people are being vaccinated”.

The EMA’s endorsement came a day after the World Health Organization (WHO) also recommended AstraZeneca’s covid-19 vaccine’s continued administration. “At this time, the WHO estimates that the risk/benefit balance is tilting in favour of the AstraZeneca vaccine and recommends that the vaccines continue” to be administered, the body said in a statement released on Wednesday.