French Health Minister Olivier Veran receives a dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine.

  • AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine is safe, the European medicines regulator said Thursday.
  • The European Medicines Agency's statement followed an investigation of blood clots in vaccinated people.
  • Eighteen countries that had paused use of the shot could now lift their suspensions.
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AstraZeneca and Oxford University's Covid-19 vaccine is safe and its benefits clearly outweigh its risks, the European regulator said Thursday.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said in a press briefing that AstraZeneca's vaccine was not associated with higher levels of blood clots, following a investigation into reports that people who had received the vaccine developed clots.

However, the EMA said it still could not definitively rule out a link between the vaccine and the reported rare cases of very serious clotting. It had launched additional reviews, it said.

At least 18 countries worldwide - including Sweden, Germany and France - had suspended the vaccine as a precaution, pending the EMA's investigation. Many of those countries said that suspensions would be lifted if the EMA concluded the vaccine was safe.

"The benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, outweigh the risks of side effects," the EMA said - a view that the regulator has maintained throughout.

The EMA said Tuesday that countries should continue to use the shot whilst its investigation continued - there was no evidence that the vaccine caused any blood problems, they said.

This is a developing story.

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