The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement Wednesday, saying it believes the benefits of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine outweigh its risks and recommends that vaccinations continue.
The agency noted several European Union countries have temporarily suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after reports of blood clots in some people who received it.
The WHO statement said any vaccination against COVID-19 will not reduce illness or deaths from other causes. The agency noted blood clots — known as Thromboembolic events — are known to occur frequently and are the result of Venous Thromboembolism, the third most common cardiovascular disease globally.
The WHO said it is routine in vaccination campaigns for nations to note possible adverse events following immunization, and it is good practice to investigate them. But it does not necessarily mean that the events are linked to vaccination.
The statement said the WHO is in regular contact with Europe’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and other regulators around the world for the latest information on COVID-19 vaccine safety.
The EMA is also investigating the blood clot reports, but Tuesday made a similar statement about the benefits versus the risks of the AstraZenca vaccine.
The WHO said its Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety continues to carefully assess the latest available safety data on the AstraZeneca vaccine, and will immediately communicate its findings.