"Benefits outweigh risks". Health minister on AstraZeneca vaccine

TVN24 News in English, Reuters, PAP

Poland's health minister said on Monday that the benefits of using AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks, after a number of countries suspended use of the shot due to concerns about side-effects. Adam Niedzielski also said that if the upward trend in infections continues, the government will consider reintroducing nationwide restrictions.

Germany, France and Italy said on Monday they would hit pause on AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots after several countries reported possible serious side-effects, throwing Europe's already struggling vaccination campaign into disarray.

Denmark and Norway stopped giving the shot last week after reporting isolated cases of bleeding, blood clots and a low platelet count. Iceland and Bulgaria followed suit and Ireland and the Netherlands announced suspensions on Sunday.

"At the moment we still believe that... the benefits from vaccination in terms of the increase in public safety are much bigger than possible risks from taking the AstraZeneca vaccine," Adam Niedzielski told a press conference.

Niedzielski also said there were currently no grounds to suspend use of the vaccine, but that Poland would follow the recommendation that the European Union's medicine regulator, the EMA, is expected to issue this week.

"We have to be very careful here on the one hand, but also not be hysterical," Niedzielski said.

He added that Poland expected to receive one million of AstraZeneca vaccines in April.

Poland reported 10,896 new coronavirus cases on Monday, a 77% jump from the previous Monday.

Mr Niedzielski said that if the trend continued, Poland will have to reimpose nationwide restrictions, which have been replaced by regional ones.

The minister also announced a new path of coronavirus testing. "Facing the third wave, we want to make these tests widely available. In order to receive a referral, one must fill in an online form. Until today, referrals could only be issued by general practitioners.


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters, PAP

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