The head of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Emma Cooke has reiterated that there is no indication that the AstraZeneca vaccine causes blood clots.

Cooke made these comments despite several countries having halted the rollout of the jab, following reports of clots developing in a small number of recipients.

The United Kingdom (UK), where the AstraZeneca vaccine was developed, says it has no concerns over the safety of the drug – while the company says a review of data has shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.

Cooke says the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

“When you vaccinate millions of people it is inevitable that you have rare or serious incidences of illnesses that occur after vaccination and our roll. The EMA is to evaluate these to make sure that any suspected adverse reactions are rapidly investigated so we can figure out is this a real side effect to the vaccine or is it a coincidence,” says Cooke.

Meanwhile, several African nations are pressing ahead with the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, despite some European countries having suspended its use.

Around 14.5 million doses have been delivered to 23 African nations under the global COVAX initiative and many have begun vaccinations.

Health authorities in Uganda and Nigeria say they believe the vaccine is safe.

Somalia received its first batch of doses of the vaccine on Tuesday.

The Department of Health in South Africa halted the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine after studies indicated that the vaccine had 22% efficacy in preventing mild to moderate cases of the COVID-19 501Y.V2 variant in the country.

This is what is wrong with AstraZeneca:

The use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in 11 European countries after a small number of blood clots were reported among people who had recently had the vaccination.

Germany, France, Italy, and Spain are among the latest to suspend its use.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is investigating the reports but says there is no evidence that the clots were linked to the vaccine.

The UK’s medical regulator also says the vaccine is safe to give to people.

11 European countries pause use of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine: