Pressure continued to mount on AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine as more countries limited its use following weeks of controversy over its safety.
On Thursday Australia recommended that people below 50 years take Pfizer’s vaccine over AstraZeneca while the Philippines suspended for people below 60 years the use of the shots manufactured the Serum Institute of India.
The African Union also dropped plans to obtain the shots, instead opting for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Many of the countries that have stopped administering the AstraZeneca shots have cited potential adverse effects including possible blood clots.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has however maintained that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalization and death, outweigh the risks of side effects.
On Wednesday, EMA’s Executive Director Emer Cooke noted that the European regulator considers the vaccine to be “highly effective” against the virus.