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EU Drug Regulator: AstraZeneca’s Vaccine Is Safe, but We’re Putting a Warning Label on It Anyway

Somehow, I don’t think the European Medicines Agency helped matters much with their decision today. In fact, they may very well have just enabled the worst of both worlds:

The European Union’s drug regulator said on Thursday that the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe, a finding that officials hope will alleviate concerns about possible side effects and prompt more than a dozen countries to resume using it against the resurgent coronavirus.

But the European Medicines Agency said a new warning label will be added to the shot so that people in the medical community can be on the lookout for a potential rare complication leading to bleeding in the brain.

The risk from the AstraZeneca vaccine is the same today as it was a week ago, before so many European countries paused administering it. Vaccine skeptics will look at the warning label as evidence to support their preconceived notion that the vaccines are unsafe. Meanwhile, these countries have stopped administering vaccines for a few days while cases are increasing, and now it appears they had no good reason to stop using them. As I noted Tuesday, vaccine skepticism or opposition is surprisingly widespread on the European continent. And as I noted in today’s Jolt, the odds of developing of blood clots or having significant adverse reactions from getting vaccinated are on par with the odds of being struck by lightning. These countries never had a good reason to halt using a safe vaccine, and now the EU’s top regulator is putting a warning label on them.

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