As some European countries adopt restrictions
The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that Liberia has begun to be administered to people in Liberia is said to have link with blood clots and death in some cases.
The link, which is being reported by the BBC, came after repeated denials by the WHO and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) that the Oxford vaccine does not have a link with any blood clot.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine—once touted as a game-changer, has lately been plagued by safety issues with vaccinated people developing serious blood clotting problems. In some cases, deaths have occurred in some patients after developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) following a dose of the vaccine.
According to the BBC, the EU’s medicines regulator says unusual blood clots should be listed as a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) could not list specific risk factors such as age or gender, but explained that most blood clot cases were of women under 60.
The EMA concluded that there was a “Possibility of very rare cases of blood clot combined with a low level of blood platelets occurring within two weeks of vaccination” with the AstraZeneca jab.
The latest revelation from the EMA comes after the UK’s vaccine advisory body announced that none of its citizens who are under 30 will be given the AstraZeneca vaccine. Rather, an alternative Covid vaccine due to the evidence linking it to a rare blood clot.
The advisory body recommendation comes after a review by the UK drugs regulator found that by the end of March, 79 people suffered a rare blood clot after vaccination, 19 of whom had died.
Earlier, Marco Cavaleri, the head of vaccines at the EMA, told Italy’s Il Messaggero newspaper, that “In my opinion, we can say it now, it is clear there is a link with the vaccine.
“But we still do not know what causes this reaction. We are trying to get a precise picture of what is happening to define in detail this syndrome due to the vaccine. Among the vaccinated, there are more cases of cerebral thrombosis among young people than we would expect,” Mr. Cavaleri said.
Mr. Cavaleri and EMA revelation come few weeks after Liberian health authorities and partners on April 1, 2021, kicked off the country’s vaccination campaign. Despite emerging evidence, the Government of Liberia is still rolling out its vaccination program with 96,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, which were given to the country under the COVAX initiative, a partnership between Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Global Alliance for Vaccines, and Immunizations Gavi, UNICEF and World Health Organization WHO.
Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, who has been vaccinated, labeled the vaccine as a game-changer in the country’s fight against COVID-19 and a critical new tool in the battle against the virus.
“This is the day many have been aspiring for to reach after more than 12 months of continued work with our partners and colleagues on the frontline fighting this pandemic,” Dr. Jallah said.
Dr. Jallah further expressed confidence in the safety of the vaccine and used the occasion to encourage all Liberians to be vaccinated.
For Minister Jallah, the safety of the vaccine is guaranteed by the facts that it has been tested in state-of-the-art laboratories and tried in thousands clinics and approved by WHO.
Minister Jallah: “I am grateful to see the fruits of our efforts, and I am hopeful of our success as we roll out the COVID-19 vaccines exercise intended to make everyone safe.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Jallah took the vaccine along with Information Minister Ledgerhood Rennie, as well as some members of the 54th National Legislature.
Last month, two teams of medical researchers in Norway and Germany said they had independently found that the vaccine could trigger an autoimmune reaction causing blood to clot in the brain.
Meanwhile Belgium has announced that it is restricting the AstraZeneca vaccine to those aged 56 and above, while Italy said it was recommending reserving it for those over 60. Both Italy and Belgium have now decided not to offer the vaccine to their younger populations.
Also, Spain has announced that it was restricting AstraZeneca to those between 60 and 64, while in Germany under-60 who have received an AstraZeneca first dose will now get a different vaccine for their second.