Thursday, April 15, 2021

Costa calls for “coordinated action” by the EU in relation to AstraZeneca


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Mário Cruz / Lusa

Prime Minister António Costa

The prime minister said on Wednesday that all member states of the European Union should respect the decisions of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine, and avoid making unilateral decisions.

“I well know that people think that prime ministers have to know everything and decide on everything. I am unfortunately not a specialist in vaccines and I do not make decisions that are up to the technicians to make ”, affirmed António Costa, who was speaking after the inauguration of the São Pedro secondary school, in Vila Real.

The EMA concluded on Wednesday that there is a “possible relationship” between the covid-19 vaccine by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the formation of “very rare cases” of blood clots, but insisted on the benefits of the drug.

“I have always said and it is the call that we have made that national authorities, all member states of the European Union must respect the decisions of the EMA and avoid taking unilateral decisions”, stressed the Portuguese Prime Minister.

António Costa recalled the meeting of Health Ministers of the European Union, convened for 5 pm today by Marta Temido, in the exercise of the Portuguese presidency, for a taking a “coordinated position on decisions that may have to be taken in light of the EMA’s conclusions ”.

The prime minister said it was “fundamental that at the level of the European Union, at least, there is a coordinated action” because “the most different suggestions for recommendations” have already been heard.

“The EMA, in which all member states participate, carried out a review, once again of the vaccine, took the conclusions that are already public, there is now a meeting of the ministers of health so that we have a coordinated position at the level of all member states and there is no uncertainty and each one to decide for himself, because that is a factor, of course, of mistrust and insecurity, for all of us ”, he stressed.

Regarding the conclusions of the EMA, he stressed that “if the technicians understand that it is so”, on his part he only has to say “very well” and waits for the technicians to have a “clear, understandable and calm position”.

The Prime Minister also said that he hopes that the decision of the European Medicines Agency on AstraZeneca will not disturb the vaccination of teachers and that “next weekend nothing will be disturbed” so that the process can continue, recalling that “today the virus is different than it was a year ago, it has a new variant that is easier to transmit and increases contagions ”.

AstraZeneca has been involved in controversy due to the appearance of blood clots in those vaccinated with their vaccine against covid-19, meanwhile called Vaxzevria, a situation that led some European countries to suspend its use and which was only overcome after the EMA had guaranteed in mid-March that this was a safe and effective drug.

The European regulator has since investigated the relationship between the vaccine and episodes of blood clots and the death of people inoculated with the Vaxzevria vaccine.

According to the EMA, 62 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and 24 cases of splanchnic venous thrombosis were registered by 22 March, as well as 18 deaths, among a population of around 25 million vaccinated in the EU, European Economic Area and the United Kingdom.

“Learning recovery program”

Regarding education and suspension of education, António Costa said that he hopes that “the lesson has been very present in everyone’s spirit” and called for “we assume that the last sacrifice that can be made is that of investment in education”.

“That is why this year the effort that was made to continue the educational process was very important”, and he recalled that it “cost him horrors” when, in March last year, he had to announce the closure of schools, writes SAPO24.

In addition, Costa highlighted the way in which in a few days teachers and the educational community had the ability to reinvent through online, but stressed the need for “learning recovery, as nothing replaces face-to-face teaching” and announced a recovery program.

“We are working to present, in May, a learning recovery program so that everything that could not be learned due to the pandemic is not lost and so that this generation does not have to, in the future, live with a lower quality of their learning due to to the pandemic. It is a scar that we cannot leave behind and we have to seriously invest in the re-learning process ”, announced the Prime Minister.

In addition, Costa left the plea: “We must do everything to keep the pandemic in check and so that the doors can also open to secondary school students”.

According to Expresso, several European countries are considering mixing vaccines against covid-19 to immunize people who received the first dose of AstraZeneca and who are now unable to receive the second dose due to restrictions applied by some governments .

Several countries have decided to stop administering this vaccine due to the possible formation of rare blood clots, now confirmed by the European Medicines Agency.

Although the European regulator has argued that the benefits of administering the vaccine outweigh the risks, some countries have imposed age restrictions.

Germany was the first country in Europe to recommend, last Thursday, that people under the age of 60 who took the first dose of AstraZeneca receive a different immunizer for the second dose, reports the Reuters.

Norway, on the other hand, will decide by April 15 whether to resume the use of the vaccine, or to bet on the combination of doses of vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech and AstraZeneca / Oxford.

Also according to the weekly, Britain had also announced, in late 2020, that it would allow people to receive doses of different vaccines on rare occasions.

Finland, for its part, has been using the AstraZeneca vaccine since the end of March, but only for people aged 65 and over.

In Portugal, a task force responsible for the vaccination plan against covid-19 said, on Tuesday, that the country continues to use the vaccine until an official position emerges from the European Medicines Agency (meanwhile known), the Directorate-General for Health and Infarmed.


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