The African Union has announced that African countries can continue the use of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in a bid to wave of the fears associating it with concerns of causing blood clots which have led to its suspension by several nations in Europe and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa.
The Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, informed a news conference that the benefits of using the vaccine still ‘outweigh the risks involved, hence the need to push on with the exercise of vaccination.
The Astrazeneca vaccine proves to be a cheaper alternative with the advantage of being easier to store among others, hence the reliance on it by African countries. So far, with the Covax initiative in place, African countries have received about 14.5 million doses to aid vaccination in their respective terrains.
To boost the AU’s commendation, the Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, encouraged the use of the vaccine, informing countries “to continue with their vaccination campaigns and not to pause, as we are in a race against time”.
“The more people are protected, the less likelihood of mutations producing more dangerous variants of the virus,” he said.
Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency said the AstraZeneca vaccine is “safe and effective” and its benefits outweigh the risks.
To also quell speculations surrounding the vaccine, Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca insists the jab is safe and that “no evidence” exists of a higher risk of blood clots.