African Union says benefits of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine outweigh risks

Multiple countries in Europe have suspended the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine. /Joel Saget/AFP

The African Union recommends continued use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine saying the benefits of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks.

During a weekly press briefing on the coronavirus John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), also emphasized that the “benefits still outweigh the risks” and that countries should “move forward” with the vaccination.

Multiple countries in Europe have suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. /Joel Saget/AFP

This announcement comes a day after World Health Organization (WHO) also said that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh its risks and recommends that vaccinations continue.

Adding that the WHO COVID-19 Subcommittee of the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety is carefully assessing the latest available safety data for the AstraZeneca vaccine. Once that review is completed, WHO will immediately communicate the findings to the public.

On Tuesday, European Medicines Agency (EMA) Executive Director Emer Cooke emphasized that, “at present, there is no indication this vaccine has caused the said side effects.”

She added that experts will again meet today, Thursday to reach a conclusion on the vaccine as they are evaluating each case.

On Thursday, EMA said, “EMA’s safety committee is holding an extraordinary meeting on the investigation on COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca and thromboembolic events. Once the meting is over, we will communicate the conclusions on the Agency’s website.”