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European regulator 'convinced' benefits of AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh risks as suspensions continue

   March 17, 2021 6:02 AM
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by Eliza Mackintosh, CNN

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CORONAVIRUS Covid-19 Vaccine
(CNN)Europe's medicines regulator has said there's "no indication" that the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has caused blood clots, as the list of countries temporarily halting the vaccine's rollout over safety concerns continues to grow.

On Tuesday, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Latvia and Sweden became the latest European nations to suspend its use, despite advice from the European Medical Authority (EMA) and other international medical agencies that the benefits of getting shots into arms outweigh any potential risks.

The head of the EMA, which authorized the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the 27-nation bloc, said Tuesday that regulators remained "firmly convinced" of that assessment.

"At present there is no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions, they have not come up in the clinical trials and they are not listed as known or expected side events with this vaccine," its executive director Emer Cooke told a digital press conference Tuesday.

"We are still firmly convinced that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19, with its associated risk of hospitalization and death, outweigh these side effects," Cooke said, adding that she was concerned the suspensions would damage confidence in the vaccines.

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