No severe side effects of AstraZeneca dose reported in Saudi Arabia: Health Authority

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There have been no reports of severe complications linked to the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s Public Health Authority said after several European countries withdrew the dose over its alleged link to blood clots.

“We have not detected any side effects from the licensed vaccines in the Kingdom, other than the simple side effects, which were previously observed in clinical trials,” the Public Health Authority said in a statement on Saturday.

A Saudi woman waits to get a dose of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, in Riyadh. (Reuters)
A Saudi woman waits to get a dose of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, in Riyadh. (Reuters)

Authorities withdrew the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in some countries in Europe as a “precautionary measure” while they investigate whether the dose is linked to blood clots, the authority added.

There has been no evidence linking the vaccine with the complications reported so far, it said.

“We assure you that some of these countries have returned to using it after it was proven safe,. We confirm that the vaccines in the Kingdom are safe and effective,” Ministry of Health spokesman Mohammed al-Abd al-Ali said in a tweet.

Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Bulgaria temporarily suspended their usage of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine shots last week after reports of a number of cases of blood clots forming in people who were inoculated.

A woman receives a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Thamesmead, London, Britain. (Reuters)
A woman receives a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Thamesmead, London, Britain. (Reuters)

However, the UK-based drug company on Friday issued a statement saying: “An analysis of our safety data of more than 10 million records has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country.”

“In fact, the observed number of these types of events are significantly lower in those vaccinated than would be expected among the general population,” the statement said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also insisted that there was no link between the vaccine and increased risk of blood clots.

“Yes, we should continue using the AstraZeneca vaccine,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told reporters on Friday, adding: “There is no indication to not use it.”

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