Several days after many nations paushed the use of Oxford/AstraZeneca’s vaccine – which Malawi is also administering – over blood clot concerns, European Medicines Agency has concluded that the vaccine is “safe and effective “in preventing Covid-19 and its benefits far outweigh the risks.
The EU medicines regulator said the safety committee PRAC concluded the vaccine is “not associated with an increase in the overall risk of thromboembolic events or blood clots.”
It said the benefits of the jab in protecting people from coronavirus-related death or hospitalisation outweigh the possible risks – and the vaccine is not linked to an “overall risk” of blood clots.
Malawi rolled out the first phase of a nationwide Covid-19 vaccination campaign with President Lazarus Chakwera being the first to receive the jab.
He described the Covid-19 vaccination program as a major milestone for Malawi as it joins the global community in fighting the pandemic.
Chakwera said he “volunteered “ to be the first one to be vaccinated to re-assure the nation that “the vaccine is safe.”
Malawi with a population of about 18.5 million received the first batch of 360,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 5 from the UN’s COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility.
Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said the first phase of vaccination will target frontline workers, including 60,000 health workers, teachers, and journalists.
Malawi’s COVID-19 vaccination program came at a time when the country has seen a drastic fall in the number of new cases.
In the wake of the EU regulator assessment, countries began to announce the resumption of vaccination, including Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Latvia, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Slovenia.