Co-creator of AstraZeneca COVID shot defends safety amid clot concerns - (Financial Post via NewsPoints Desk)

  • One of the scientists who co-developed AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine defended its safety on Friday and said he was not worried that some countries had decided to restrict its use amid concerns about a possible link to very rare side effects, as reported by the Financial Post.

  • Adrian Hill, director of the Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, said teams around the world were working to investigate any potential mechanism for what might be causing the blood clots, using real world data now so many shots have been administered.

  • More than a dozen countries in Europe had suspended use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine amid reports of cases of the clots combined with low platelets in a very small number of people who had received it. 

  • After reviewing the safety reports, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said that while there was a possible link, a direct causal link had not been established and the vaccine’s benefits in preventing severe COVID-19 disease were substantial.

  • Hill said such extremely rare side effects would not have emerged in large-scale trials involving tens of thousands of participants. "Nobody can detect something that occurs in one in 300,000 – and maybe causes death in about 1 in a million – if you’re doing studies of the order of 10,000 to 20,000 vaccines."

  • "It may or may not take a long time to figure out," he said. "I think we’ll be able to do it reasonably quickly and hopefully come up with an immunization regimen or approach that effectively completely avoids this issue. But we need to … learn more before that."

To read more NewsPoints articles, click here.