Understanding the Safety of Vaccines
There has recently been a great deal of media coverage regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine. Several European nations, including Germany, France, Italy and Sweden, have suspended use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID‑19 vaccine over blood clot concerns. It is important to put this into context and to understand that there is no evidence of any safety issue with this vaccine.
An article in New Scientist provides useful information on what is happening in this situation.
It is important to note that both the World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency have stated that there is currently no evidence linking the vaccine to blood clots and have recommended that countries continue administering it.
When millions of people are administered a vaccine, it is likely that some of those being vaccinated may deal with a health issue that may appear to be a serious side effect from getting the vaccine but, in fact, is not related at all. The timing of the health issue and when the person was vaccinated may make health officials investigate the situation(s), but that is done in an abundance of caution. As vaccines are being administered around the world, most countries are making seniors and those with serious health issues a priority. Many of those receiving vaccinations right now are in a higher health risk category. That means that some of these people may experience a health issue in the days or weeks after they receive the vaccine, which is likely just a timing coincidence and has nothing to do with the vaccine – no matter which one they receive.
CBC has a good piece with the headline: AstraZeneca-Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine safety questions answered. You can read it here. Spoiler alert: according to respected and credible health authorities around the world (including Canada), the vaccine is safe. There is no reason to be worried about it or any vaccine that has been given regulatory approval to be administered.
CTV also did a piece that shows that there is no biological explanation that ties the AstraZeneca vaccine to blood clots. You can read it here.
If you would like to learn more about how Canadian regulators review vaccines for Emergency Use Approval and how they monitor the vaccines, going forward – there is a great deal of information on the Health Canada website.
It is important to trust the science around vaccines. It is also key to understand that the COVID-19 vaccines have undergone rigorous testing and reviews before being approved for use. The safety of the vaccines is a top priority in their development and in the approval process.