Following today's statement by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) regarding the COVID-19 vaccine Vaxzevria (formerly AstraZeneca), EU Health Ministers met by videoconference today, Wednesday 7 April, to discuss a common approach to the future roll-out of Vaxzevria vaccine. On this occasion, Minister Romain Schneider replaced Health Minister Paulette Lenert.
Romain Schneider pointed out that it is crucial that EU Member States have the means to take informed decisions on how to deploy their vaccination strategy in the best possible interest of citizens' public health. "Our goal remains to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible, based on sound scientific evidence about the efficacy and safety of available vaccines." stated Romain Schneider.
Although the EMA found a possible link between very rare cases of unusual blood clots and the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine, it also notes that "The benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine, in terms of prevention of COVID-19 infection, continue to far outweigh the risks and the public should continue to take the vaccine when invited to do so." The EMA analysis, based on data from vaccinated individuals between 18 and 79 years of age, did not reveal any difference between men and women, nor did it confirm, based on currently available data, the existence of specific risk factors.
Based on this scientific assessment by the European Agency, Luxembourg has decided to continue to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine without distinction of age and gender.
In today's statement, the EMA reminds healthcare professionals and recipients of the vaccine to consider the possibility of very rare cases of blood clots occurring within two weeks of vaccination.
Patients should seek immediate medical advice if they experience the following symptoms:
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- swelling of the legs
- persistent abdominal (belly) pain
- neurological symptoms, including severe and persistent headaches or blurred vision
- small spots of blood under the skin beyond the injection site
Vaxzevria is one of four vaccines authorised in the EU to prevent COVID-19. Studies show that it is effective in preventing the disease. It also reduces the risk of hospitalisation and death related to COVID-19.
The EMA has committed to continue its detailed analysis over the coming months, to keep monitoring the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and to provide the public with the latest information available.
Press release by the Ministry of State / Ministry of Health