BRUSSELS, Belgium: A senior European medical official has said that there is a "clear link" between the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the development of blood clots.
"In my opinion, we can say it now, it is clear there is a link with the vaccine. But we still do not know what causes this reaction," said Marco Cavaleri, chair of the European Medicines Agency's vaccine evaluation team, as reported by Italy's Il Messaggero newspaper.
The EU medical regulator has examined 44 cases of an extremely rare brain clotting ailment, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, which developed after patients received AstraZeneca.
Of note, Cavaleri said, a large number of clots occurred among young and middle-aged women who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
"While the investigation is ongoing, we are still firmly convinced that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalization and death, outweigh the risk of these side effects," European Medicines Agency executive director Emer Cooke said last month during a briefing.
France, Germany, and the Netherlands, along with other countries, have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
On Thursday night Australia limited AstraZeneca to people over 50. By Friday the Australian government had placed an order for 20 million dditional doses of the Pfizer vaccine.