Astrazeneca vaccinations can resume

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has given the green light for continued use of the Astrazeneca vaccine. It had launched a review after various EU countries stopped using it because a link to very rare cases of cerebral vein thrombosis could not be ruled out. Commentators welcome the review process and its outcome, but also warn against overreactions.

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Berliner Zeitung (DE) /

Detailed review builds trust

Things should calm down now, hopes Berliner Zeitung:

“The fact that the list of potential risks has been expanded may not be very reassuring at first. But the fact that all Covid vaccines are continuously assessed and reviewed on the basis of scientific data builds security and trust. It is good to know that regulatory authorities, including the EMA, are keeping calm and not letting themselves be guided by emotional debates. That is their job. ... Of course a risk always remains. Nobody wants to be one of the cases with rare side effects. All the same, it is to be hoped that we can now make faster progress with the vaccinations. Every additional delay costs lives.”

Krónika (RO) /

Explaining the situation

Comprehensible information could restore trust in the vaccine, believes Krónika:

“Meanwhile, we still have to wait for the authorities to provide reliable information about whether a direct connection between the vaccines and the deaths really exists. If it were possible to determine in each individual case that no such direct link exists, and if it were possible to communicate this information to the public, which is already fairly hesitant as it is, the vaccine campaign, which seems to be faltering now, might progress more smoothly.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

The real problem still lies elsewhere

The EU would be better advised to force Astrazeneca to comply with the agreements, Berlin correspondent Tonia Mastrobuoni rails in La Repubblica:

“Europe has become hostage to the rash decisions of certain countries, and above all Germany's irrationality. ... Yet the only visible effect of the EU agreements is the scandalous bullying by pharmaceutical companies, which prefer to export the doses to countries that pay more rather than honour their commitments. This is the real sore point in relations between Europe and Astrazeneca, and the figure to bear in mind is not the 0.0000008 percent thrombosis incidence but the 120 million fewer doses that Astrazeneca will supply to the EU by the middle of the year. This is what the attention and political efforts of the EU and its member countries should be focused on.”

Phileleftheros (CY) /

The mistrust will keep growing

The whole matter should serve as a warning for the future, writes Phileleftheros:

“A state of emergency of psychological dimensions was brought about in the European Union, and mistrust of the Astrazeneca vaccine continues to grow. Something similar may happen with the other vaccines. Can the EU withstand a panic attack that will impact its efforts to vaccinate as many people as possible?”