GENEVA

Amid concerns over side effects and suspension of its use in several countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday said the AstraZeneca vaccine is “excellent” and the world should continue using it.

The global health body is aware that a specific batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine distributed in the EU was suspended “based on reports of blood coagulation disorders in some people who had received it at that time,” said WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris.

Countries such as Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway, and Romania have limited the use of the vaccine after reports that some people who received it developed blood clots.

She said the decision was taken as a precaution, and the vaccine can continue to be administered while an investigation into cases of “these thrombo-embolic events is ongoing.”

“We must always ensure that we look for any safety signals when we roll out vaccines, and we must review them. But there is no indication not to use it,” Harris said.

It is important to note, she added, that the European Medicines Agencies’ Pharmaceutical Vigilance Risk Assessment Committee has said that the AstraZeneca jab’s “benefits continue to outweigh the risks.”

“AstraZeneca is an excellent vaccine, as are the other vaccines that are being used. So, it’s very important to understand that, yes, we should continue using the AstraZeneca vaccine,” the spokesperson said.

As of March 9, Harris said over 260 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered around the world.

Based on data the WHO has from governments, “no causes of death have been found to have been caused by COVID-19 vaccines to date,” she added.

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