Several European Countries Resume Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine

France, Germany and Italy resumed use Friday of a coronavirus vaccine made by AstraZeneca after health officials sought to allay concerns it might cause blood clots.The European nations resumed inoculations after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine was “safe and effective” and the World Health Organization said “available data do not suggest any overall increase in clotting conditions” among those who had been vaccinated.From left, German public health expert Karl Lauterbach, RKI health institute deputy director Lars Schaade and German Health Minister Jens Spahn speak at a news conference, March 19, 2021, in Berlin, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.Germany and Italy are trying to avoid a third wave of coronavirus infections while France is experiencing its highest caseload in four months.Beginning Friday, several French regions, including Paris, will be under new lockdown orders to contain increasing coronavirus cases.France had 40,000 new cases Wednesday.The EMA approved the continued use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine Thursday in the battle to contain the pandemic. Spain had also stopped using the vaccine.The agency said in a statement that “the benefits of the vaccine in combating the still widespread threat of COVID-19 (which itself results in clotting problems and may be fatal) continue to outweigh the risk of side effects.”“A causal link with the vaccine is not proven but is possible and deserves further analysis,” the agency added.FILE – A member of the medical staff holds a vial of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine at the South Ile-de-France Hospital Group in Melun, in the outskirts of Paris, Feb. 8, 2021.Meanwhile, the White House announced Thursday that it was sending millions of stockpiled doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Mexico and Canada. Mexico is slated to receive 2.5 million doses from the U.S., with Canada receiving 1.5 million.U.S. regulators have not yet approved use of the vaccine, but Mexican and Canadian officials have.White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the vaccine would be loans to the two U.S. neighbors, with the U.S. eventually being reimbursed with vaccine from the bordering countries.The announcement came as the Biden administration sought Mexico’s help in stemming the tide of migrants trying to enter the U.S.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced new distance guidelines for schools Friday, saying three feet of distance for masked students was adequate instead of the previously recommended six-foot span.“These updated recommendations provide the evidence-based road map to help schools reopen safely, and remain open, for in-person instruction,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.On Friday, India’s Union Health Ministry reported an increase in coronavirus infections for the ninth day in a row, with 40,000 new cases in the previous 24 hours. India has reported 11.5 million COVID-19 cases. As of early Friday afternoon EDT, only two countries had more — the U.S., with 29.7 million, and Brazil, with 11.8 million, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.Hopkins reported a global total of 122.1 million infections. 



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