AstraZeneca’s manager for the Nordic region: We are eager to understand more

AstraZeneca vaccinePhoto: AP Photo / Christophe Ena

AstraZeneca’s manager for the Nordic region says that the company is eager to gain more knowledge in connection with several countries putting the use of their vaccines on hold.

“We are very eager to understand more, and work closely with the authorities,” the pharmaceutical manufacturer’s medical manager in the Nordic region, Andreas Heddini, told TT.

Germany, France, and Italy joined a number of countries that have stopped vaccination with AstraZeneca’s corona vaccine following reports of blood clots in people who have recently received the vaccine. 

Norway, Denmark, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, and Ireland, among others, have already done the same as a precautionary measure.

“We are working hard to understand what may be behind the symptoms,” Heddini explained.

“At the same time, there is no evidence at the present time that can support any causal connection between these events and the vaccine,” he noted.

He referred to the company’s data from over 17 million vaccine doses that have already been administered in the EU and the UK, which show no such signs.

But he thinks it is good that Norway is investigating what has happened.

“Important to follow up”

“We welcome the investigations, but it is important to be balanced. One must react to every signal of a serious side effect, but on the other hand, it is important to understand that a reported side effect is not automatically the same as a causal connection,” Heddini warned.

When asked if AstraZeneca shares Norway’s view that investigations are underway because one can not completely rule out any connection, he answered:

“We have to take a closer look at that. It is very important that you follow up and try to understand more, that you look at, for example, the passage of time and whether there are any other common denominators between these people who are affected, which provides more information,” Heddini said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that vaccination be continued. So does the European Medicines Agency (EMA). 

Negative attention

Before the news of blood clots began to dominate the news, AstraZeneca had been criticized for not delivering enough vaccines. 

The company’s communications director Jacob Lund comments on the negative attention towards AstraZeneca as follows:

“We understand that it raises questions and that there has been a lot of negative attention. But we are really doing everything we can, and we must not forget that we have seen very few incidents related to the 17 million doses administered in Europe.”

Heddini emphasized the importance of close dialogue with government experts.

“We make sure to continuously share and discuss our new information and try to be as open as possible. We do our utmost to solve the questions that arise, both in terms of production and access to vaccines and the safety aspects,” Heddini said.

He is aware that attention can damage confidence in the vaccine.

“I think there is a clear risk of that. It is clear that people are influenced by what is mentioned in the media,” Heddini concluded.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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