WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine pauses in EU unwarranted

The World Health Organization endorsed the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after several European countries have halted its use over potential safety risks.

AstraZeneca has observed 15 deep vein thrombosis (DVT) reports and 22 pulmonary embolism (PE) cases out of 17 million vaccine recipients in the E.U. and U.K. as of March 8. Based on that data, the incidence rate among that population would be roughly 0.00022%. The company issued a statement saying the rate of events is “much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed COVID-19 vaccines.

WHO stressed in prepared remarks that COVID-19 vaccines cannot “reduce illness or deaths from other causes” and that “thromboembolic events are known to occur frequently.”

The agency said, based on the data currently available, the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

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