London: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday defended the protection of AstraZeneca coronavirus virus after several European countries prevented its rollout due to fear of blood clots.
Germany, Italy and France on Monday included others in suspending the vaccine, giving a potential setback to a global vaccination campaign against a disease that has killed more than 2.6 million people.
However, the World Health Organization, AstraZeneca and the European Medicine Agency have insisted that the pill is safe, and that there is no link between it and blood clots.
The British leader assured on Tuesday that the jab was not harmful. “This vaccine is safe and works very well,” Johnson wrote in The Times newspaper.
“It is being made in many places from India to America and Britain and is being used all over the world,” he said.
Fears over the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine have increased in some countries, as there have been a number of cases of blood clots or brain haemorrhage in people following the vaccine, with a small number of deaths.
But medical experts in AstraZeneca and the UK have said that there is no evidence that clotting is occurring or that they are occurring in greater numbers or frequency than the general population.
The vaccine was developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford in the UK, where more than 11 million doses have been administered, with no major problems reported.
On Monday, Johnson told reporters that Britain’s Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is “one of the toughest and most experienced regulators in the world”.
“They see no reason to discontinue the vaccination program … either for the vaccines we are currently using,” he said.
“They believe that they are highly effective not only for hospitalization but also for reducing critical illness and mortality.
“We remain very confident about the program and it is great to see it rolled at such a pace across the UK.”
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