No cases of blood clotting reported in Malta from AstraZeneca vaccine, Chris Fearne says

Health Minister Chris Fearne says the European Medicines Agency is to issue guidance on the administration of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, following various cases of thrombosis reported in some countries • No case of blood clotting in Malta

Malta has not recorded any cases of blood clotting in patients who received the AstraZeneca vaccine, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Wednesday. 

He was speaking alongside Prime Minister Robert Abela and Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci during a press conference where a plan for the gradual release of COVID-19 restrictions was unveiled.

"We have had no cases of thrombosis linked to AstraZeneca despite a rumour that was doing the rounds this week," Fearne said.

Fearne said the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has not advised against administering the AstraZeneca vaccine and that so far, the benefits outweigh the risks.

The health minister said this evening he would convene with his European counterparts and EMA to discuss the issue at hand, adding that the agency was expected to provide guidance about the vaccine this week.

Yesterday a senior official from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) told an Italian daily it is “clear” that there was a link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a rare form of a blood clot but that the cause is still not known.

There have been concerns that the risk of extremely rare blood clots could be marginally higher among younger people.

Germany and the Netherlands have already restricted the AstraZeneca vaccine to those over 60, while France has restricted the vaccine to over 55s. The UK is also advising against young people, at least those under 30-years-old, taking the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Fearne also assured the public that in the coming week's the Johnson and Johnson vaccine would arrive. He said even if guidelines suggested that the vaccination programme for the AstraZeneca vaccine had to pause, Malta still had other vaccines available.

READ MORE: UK regulator considering change in advice on AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for young people