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Latvia plans to resume vaccinating with AstraZeneca Friday

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) confirmed Thursday, March 18, that AstraZeneca vaccines are safe to use. Latvia plans to resume administering them as of Friday.

EMA said at a press conference that there was no evidence that AstraZeneca vaccines would be related to thromboembolism as suspected. 25 cases of the condition and nine deaths were confirmed in Europe but given that the vaccine has been administered to 20 million people throughout Europe, this was not deemed to be evidence that the vaccine had caused the condition.

EMA recommended to continue vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccines but warn people who are prone to thrombosis about possible side-effects. "The Committee was of the opinion that the vaccine’s proven efficacy in preventing hospitalisation and death from COVID-19 outweighs the extremely small likelihood of developing DIC or CVST. However, in the light of its findings, patients should be aware of the remote possibility of such syndromes, and if symptoms suggestive of clotting problems occur patients should seek immediate medical attention and inform healthcare professionals of their recent vaccination," EMA said in a statement Thursday.

Latvian Health Minister Daniels Pavļuts said at a press conference that Latvia would not hesitate to resume vaccination with AstraZeneca vaccines and that once EMA has sent out the renewed recommendations, they would be passed on to doctors' offices. 

"I think that the vaccination may resume tomorrow afternoon," said Pavļuts.

There are currently around 25,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines stored in Latvia.

Latvian health authorities suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccines Monday night as a precautionary measure, based on reports from other countries about cases of thromboembolism. Several other European countries took the same decision, including neighboring Lithuania. Estonia did not suspend use of AstraZeneca's vaccines.

 

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