France, Italy and Germany resume use of AstraZeneca vaccine after UK and EU regulators declare it ‘safe’

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The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and can continue to be used to inoculate people, both the UK and EU medicines regulators have concluded – a joint endorsement that is hoped to alleviate any lingering concerns around blood clots reported in some recipients of the jab.

After a week in which questions were widely raised over the safety of the vaccine, health officials from across the continent have insisted that the benefits of the jab in preventing Covid-19 far outweigh all associated risks.

Europe has found itself divided over the vaccine – just weeks after many nations refused to administer the jab to their over-65s. Germany, Spain, France and others all paused their rollouts as a result of the reported blood clots, launching investigations into the cases, while Britain, Belgium and Greece have continued to administer doses.

But now that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has given its backing to the continued use of the vaccine, many governments in Europe are to lift their suspensions, with Italy, France and Germany making clear their intentions to restart distribution of the jab as early as Friday. Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands said they would follow suit next week, although Spain said it could exclude certain groups.

On the same day that Boris Johnson confirmed he would be receiving a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it had found no evidence of a link between the jab and reported blood clots.

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