Inconsistent information and practices concerning the AstraZeneca vaccine confuse and upset the public, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said following a teleconference on Wednesday evening with his EU counterparts.
They met to discuss the European Medicines Agency announcement earlier in the day that there may be a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a very rare blood clot, but that the benefits outweigh the risks. Following this announcement, the health ministry announced that the national vaccination plan would continue with all available licensed vaccines.
Ioannou expressed his strong dissatisfaction with the practices followed by many European countries in administering the AstraZeneca vaccine, arguing that they do not consult scientific criteria and instead make decisions that confuse and upset the public.
As a result, people are reluctant to respond to the call for vaccination, delaying the national vaccination programme.
If these delays continue, the goal of vaccinating a sufficient percentage of the population within the first half of the year will not be achieved, leaving the EU paralysed due to the severe restrictive measures that will remain in place, he said.
The health ministry said that after careful consideration of the data and the possible association of the AstraZeneca vaccine with cases of thrombosis, the EMA expressed “the scientific position that the vaccine remains effective and safe”.
In reaching its conclusion, EMA said in an announcement that the committee took into consideration all currently available evidence, including the advice from an ad hoc expert group.
So far, most of the adverse cases reported have occurred in women under 60 years of age within two weeks of vaccination. Based on the currently available evidence, specific risk factors have not been confirmed.
“Covid-19 is associated with a risk of hospitalisation and death. The reported combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is very rare, and the overall benefits of the vaccine in preventing Covid-19 outweigh the risks of side effects,” the EMA said.
The health ministry reminded the vaccination portal is open for those over 61.