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Government, Officials Defend AstraZeneca's COVID-19 Shot: CNBC

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Government, Officials Defend AstraZeneca's COVID-19 Shot: CNBC
  • The British government and health experts in the country have come forward to defend the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca plc’s (NASDAQ: AZN) and Oxford after a possible link to blood clots have raised concerns, reports CNBC.
  • One Twitter user commented Thursday that officials appear to have gone into “damage limitation” mode.
  • Yesterday, European Medicines Agency concluded that unusual blood clots should be listed as a “very rare side effect” of the AZN COVID-19 shot. The EMA has not placed any age restrictions on recipients, however.
  • The U.K.’s health and vaccine regulators issued a change of guidance over who should receive the shot, and now they recommend that anyone under 30 years of age should go for an alternative vaccine amid the concerns.
  • Following a safety review of the AstraZeneca vaccine, both the U.K. and European medicines regulators stressed that the shot’s benefits still outweighed the risks.
  • Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has received a first shot of the vaccine himself, said that “the best thing people should do is look at what the MHRA said. “Their advice to people is to keep going out there, get your jab, get your second jab,” he added.
  • “It does sound like a sensible decision based on the evidence we have so far of a probable causal link between the AZ vaccine and these very rare thrombotic side effects that have been noted,” Andrew Freedman, reader in infectious diseases at Cardiff University School of Medicine, told CNBC. However, he noted that vaccine hesitancy was now “clearly a concern.”
  • EMA’s Executive Director Emer Cooke noted that researchers were still trying to determine what has been causing a small number of severe but rare clots, including cerebral venous sinus thrombosis.
  • To date, four European countries have stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine altogether, including Denmark and the Netherlands. In contrast, others, including Germany, France, and Spain, have put age restrictions on the shot.
  • Price Action: AZN shares are trading 2.3% higher at $49.54 on the last check Thursday.
 

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