COVID19: Cyprus does not expect adverse AstraZeneca verdict

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The European Medicines Agency will not advise EU member states to discontinue the AstraZeneca vaccine administration at the end of an evaluation into rare blood clots, Cypriot officials said.

EMA will inform the bloc on Wednesday of its findings on the administration of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, said EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, with local officials dismissing any chance of the vaccine being blacklisted.

Acting director of Health Ministry’s Pharmaceutical Services, Elena Panayiotopoulou, told the Cyprus News Agency, the EMA is reviewing blood clotting incidents involving people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab.

“However, there are no grounds for the EMA to deliver a verdict for discontinuing the administration of the AstraZeneca’s vaccine,” said Panayiotopoulou.

She added that Brussels would provide guidelines to countries on managing the whole issue concerning the vaccine.

She assured the public the EMA would not be calling for the vaccine’s withdrawal since any possible side effects are at a minimum.

However, she did not rule out the possibility of imposing some precautions concerning the vaccine.

Panayiotopoulou urged people to show up at their vaccination appointments for the AstraZeneca jab, whether for the first or second shot.

She said there is no danger and urged people to proceed with the second dose to be effectively protected, as skipping it is like not getting vaccinated.

Cyprus will adhere to any additional guidelines given by the EMA.

Panayiotopoulou said there are reports of side effects not only of the AstraZeneca vaccine but also the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in Cyprus.

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine appears to be linked with very rare blood clots in the brain, but the possible causes are still unknown, a senior EMA official said on Tuesday.

“In my opinion, we can now say it; it is clear that there is an association with the vaccine. However, we still do not know what causes this reaction,” Marco Cavaleri, chair of the EMA vaccine evaluation team, told Italian daily Il Messaggero.

Officially, the regulator has consistently said the benefits outweigh the risks as it investigates 44 reports of an extremely rare brain clotting ailment known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) out of 9.2 million people in the European Economic Area who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The World Health Organization has also backed the vaccine.