Boris Johnson says he will 'certainly' be getting AstraZeneca Covid vaccine


The World Health Organisation has said the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh its risks, and recommends that vaccinations continue.

About 15 countries, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a precaution, after the emergence of serious blood problems such as blood clotting in some of those who received it.

Read also: Moroccan-American Developing a Universal COVID-19 VaccineThe EU countries that have made the decision to suspend the vaccine have all done so based on reports of complications, without having established a definite link between cause and effect.

"At this time, World Health Organization considers that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh its risks and recommends that vaccinations continue", it added.

Jutta Paulus, a licensed pharmacist and a member of the European Parliament for the Green Party, said the "benefits of taking the AstraZeneca vaccine do outweigh the risks".

The EU regulator will release its findings on Thursday but its head, Emer Cooke, said she saw no reason to change its recommendation of AstraZeneca - one of four vaccines that it has approved for use.

Brussels has accused London of operating a de facto export ban to achieve its vaccine success, a claim furiously denied by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government.

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In Britain, which has raced ahead in vaccinating its most vulnerable, officials said Wednesday that the number of people getting their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine would be "significantly constrained" from April because of a reduction in the vaccine supply to the country.

"Concerns are taken seriously and examined. And as soon as these concerns are cleared up, a vaccine can be used again without hesitation", she said. In total, 45 million COVID shots have been delivered across the region.

But the WHO's vaccine experts said Wednesday it was still better to take the AstraZeneca vaccine than not - adding that it was looking into available data on the jab.

Dr. Kim Woo-joo, infectious disease professor at Korea University, said the health authorities were repeating the same mistakes with the flu vaccines last fall by failing to communicate with the public promptly and clearly.

But because there are no long-term data on any of the COVID-19 vaccines, any potential signal of trouble must be thoroughly investigated.

Europe is in the midst of its "crisis of the century" as it threatens to seize AstraZeneca factories and strip the company of its intellectual property rights in a major escalation in tensions over coronavirus vaccines.

CBC's David Cochrane goes inside the processes of vaccine delivery and distribution as well as the challenges to deliver on the promise of at least one shot for every Canadian who wants it by July 1. "And this is at a time when we need to stop the virus circulating to reduce the chances of further variants emerging".