Several Member States say they will again start using the AstraZeneca vaccine after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) confirmed it was "safe and effective".
The agency said it had reviewed the vaccine amid ongoing fears about blood clots and concluded that such incidents were "not associated" with a higher risk and the benefits outweighed any risks.
The Amsterdam-based agency had reviewed the jab after 13 member states suspended its use over fears about blood clots in a very small number of patients.
On Friday, France, Germany and Italy, along with Cyprus, Latvia and Lithuania are expected to resume use of the AstraZeneca jab while Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands will do so next week.
However, Norway, Sweden and Denmark said they will continue to pause use of the Anglo-Swedish product.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on countries to continue using the vaccine.
“The priority of the Commission has always been the safety and the efficacy of any COVID-19 vaccine authorised for use in the EU. This is why we have ensured that all vaccines, before being administered, go through the rigorous and independent safety scrutiny of the European Medicines Agency” Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety
Both UK premier Boris Johnson and French Prime Minister Jean Castex have said they will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday.
The EMA’s safety committee reviewed each of the 40 reported cases of blood clots and its executive director Emer Cooke announced the findings at a press conference on Thursday.
Afterwards, Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, issued a statement, which read, “Security and trust in vaccines is key for vaccinations.
“The priority of the Commission has always been the safety and the efficacy of any COVID-19 vaccine authorised for use in the EU. This is why we have ensured that all vaccines, before being administered, go through the rigorous and independent safety scrutiny of the European Medicines Agency.”
The official added, “This has always been non-negotiable for us. The EU conditional marketing authorisation also requires a robust pharmacovigilance system to ensure that any possible medicine related problem, however rare it is, does not go undetected.”
The statement continued, “As the European Medicines Agency has clearly stated, the benefits of the vaccine in combating COVID-19 continue to outweigh the risks of side effects. It is an effective and safe vaccine that greatly contributes to the efforts to address the impact of COVID-19 and the very serious health risks of an infection.”
She added, “Vaccination is one of our strongest means to put an end to the pandemic and we must all continue our efforts to ensure that the roll-out is proceeding as quickly as possible whilst ensuring that the rigorous safety monitoring continues as part of the EU pharmacovigilance process."