AstraZeneca Vaccine: Anschober Demands Clarity from EMA

Lifestyle & TravelHealth ♦ Published: March 16, 2021; 09:30 ♦ (Vindobona)

Some of the biggest European countries, including Germany, Italy and France, have suspended the use of the Covid-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca after reports of possible adverse health effects. Austria's Health Minister Rudolf Anschober does not see any evidence for causality between the vaccine and the health events and demands clarity from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Austria's Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (right) demands a clear guideline from the EMA regarding the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Christoper Dunker

Regarding the reports from Germany, France and Italy on the temporary suspension of vaccinations with AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine, Austria's Health Minister Rudolf Anschober demands a clear statement from the European authorities for a joint pan-European approach as soon as possible.

"The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has conducted the review of the marketing authorization of the Covid-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca. This is where the detailed knowledge about vaccines is concentrated. It is where all the information about side effects comes together. So what is needed now is a clear decision and recommendation from the EMA for the member states," Anschober states after some of the biggest European countries have decided to temporarily suspend vaccinations with the product from AstraZeneca.

He adds:

"We have agreed on a common European approach to vaccinations. National individual courses of action are neither effective nor confidence-building in this context. When such far-reaching decisions are made, they must be clearly supported by sound data and facts and ideally recommended by the EMA, which is responsible for this."

According to the ministry, there is no evidence of a causal link between AstraZeneca's vaccine and the health events currently under discussion, which can also occur in unvaccinated individuals.

The World Health Organization also spoke out on the matter as follows:

"To date, there is no evidence that the incidents were caused by the vaccine, and it is important that vaccination campaigns continue so that we can save lives and prevent serious illness because of the virus."

Austria's National Immunization Panel, the Safety Board at the National Immunization Panel and the Federal Agency for Safety in Health Care have also addressed the issue and want to follow the guideline issued by the EMA.

The European Medicines Agency is said to issue another statement on March 16, which will hopefully clarify the situation.