European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides on Wednesday (April 7) called on members of the European Union to coordinate and
"speak with one voice"
on the AstraZeneca vaccine against the coronavirus, which several countries have restricted the use, so as not to feed mistrust.
"It is essential that we follow a coordinated approach (...) We must speak with one voice across the EU in order to build public confidence in vaccination,"
she said in a tweet, before speaking to European health ministers.
Read also: Covid-19: blood clots, a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine
The latter met at the end of the day on Wednesday to examine the conclusions of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) confirming the link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare cases of blood clots.
The European regulator said that the benefits of the vaccine from the Swedish-British laboratory outweigh the risks, and that no specific risk factor, such as age, had been identified.
However, several European states have already decided to restrict its use according to age criteria - which vary from one country to another.
For example, Italy and Spain announced on Wednesday that it was reserved for people over 60, Belgium for people over 55, and the United Kingdom for people over 30.
"Decisions on national vaccination campaigns, on who to vaccinate with which vaccine, it depends on you"
, that is to say on each member state, Stella Kyriakides told ministers - while calling for a concerted approach so as to
"not plunge the citizens into confusion"
, according to his speech consulted by AFP.
The world is watching us, and we have to keep in mind that AstraZeneca vaccine is the main vaccine that is exported to low and middle income countries.
Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health
Already last week, Germany had advised against the use of the product for the youngest, reserving it for over 60 years.
In France, the Haute Autorité de santé has recommended that it be reserved for people aged 55 and over.
Information on possible serious side effects, even extremely rare, has contributed to fueling the mistrust of the public solicited for vaccination, some of which shun the centers offering AstraZeneca doses or turn to other available vaccines.
Portuguese Health Minister Marta Temido, whose country has held the rotating EU presidency since January, also called for better European coordination on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“This is a technical decision, not a political decision.
We must continue to follow the best scientific information provided by the EMA and its advice.
We must not forget that individual decisions affect everyone
, ”she insisted.
To read also: AstraZeneca vaccine: doubt settles in the places of injections
The restrictions imposed by certain Member States are, in fact, likely to increase the pressure on neighboring countries to adopt similar measures.
"The world is watching us, and we must keep in mind that the AstraZeneca vaccine is the main vaccine that is exported to low and middle income countries,"
Stella Kyriakides also worried in her address to ministers .
"the experience with AstraZeneca shows that our pharmacovigilance system works"
, by reporting to the European policeman the reports of thrombosis in vaccinated people, observed the Commissioner.