In the past week several countries suspended or delayed the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine whilst the European Medicines Agency (EMA) safety committee investigated whether or not the vaccine was linked to reports of thromboembolic events.

The EMA’s investigation concluded that the vaccine is safe and effective and not associated with an increased risk of blood clots, and that they will continue to monitor this (whilst noting that there is a possible link with very rare cases of blood clots associated with thrombocytopenia).

Professor Julie Leask notes that people’s willingness to have a vaccine is influenced by its perceived safety, and the suspension of vaccination programs, even if temporary, has long-lasting effects on public confidence. Even if a causal link is found between the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and these thromboembolic events, the risks of these are likely outweighed by the risks of COVID-19. Currently, approximately 20,000 people die from COVID-19 in the European WHO region each week.

She further notes the impacts suspensions like these can have beyond the aversion of harm that is behind them.

Professor Leask suggests early and frequent updates as events happen, communication with empathy, messaging that caters to different levels of health literacy and prioritisation of healthcare worker information and reiterates the importance of research and development into vaccine uptake.

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BMJ 观点:在 covid-19 牛津/阿斯利康疫苗暂停后恢复信心将是一场艰苦的战斗