WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine benefits outweigh risk

The latest development in the overseas AstraZeneca saga: The World Health Organization on Wednesday recommended that nations continue using the vaccine against the coronavirus created by Oxford University and the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, after some European countries halted its use over safety concerns. The vaccine is not currently approved for use in the U.S.

In a statement, the WHO said its Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety was assessing safety data, and that it was staying in touch with the European Medicines Agency, the European Union’s version of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Backstory: About a dozen nations, mostly in Europe, have paused their use of AstraZeneca vaccines after a few people who received the shot developed dangerous blood clots.

However: The WHO said blood clots are common, and that vaccination campaigns should continue.

“Vaccination against Covid-19 will not reduce illness or deaths from other causes. Thromboembolic events are known to occur frequently. Venous thromboembolism is the third most common cardiovascular disease globally,” the agency said. “At this time, WHO considers that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh its risks and recommends that vaccinations continue.”