18 March 2021

• The EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) wraps up its preliminary review of blood clots among people who received AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine. It confirmed that the vaccine’s benefits outweighed the risk of side effects, noting that COVID-19 causes clotting problems, that the vaccine has not been linked with an increased overall risk of blood clots and that there is no evidence of problems with vaccine batches or production sites. Nonetheless, the vaccine may be associated with very rare cases of blood clots that are linked with low platelets; recently vaccinated people with symptoms suggestive of blood clots (being breathless, stomach or chest pain, swelling or coldness in the arms or legs, blurred vision, severe headache, persistent bleeding, multiple small bruises, reddish or purple spots or blood blisters) should immediately report them to healthcare professionals. The PRAC will continue reviewing these risks (including from other coronavirus vaccines) and vigilant safety monitoring as it collects data from laboratory studies and real-world evidence. Source
• The UK coronavirus vaccine shortage may be due in part to a month-long delay in shipping five million doses from  India’s Serum Institute.  Source
• The EU and UK continue to squabble over coronavirus vaccine doses, with EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen threatening a ban on exporting the AstraZeneca vaccine to the UK so that the EU would have an ample supply; British Health Minister Matt Hancock replied the UK’s help with funding and developing the vaccine and its supply chain gave it a legal right to the vaccines. Source
• The US announces that it will send 2.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine – which is not yet approved there-  to Mexico and 1.5 million doses to Canada as a loan. The announcement comes as President Biden asked  President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to help in stemming a surge of migrants to the US, which his press secretary described as “unrelated” but “overlapping.” Source
• Thailand will shorten its quarantine period for foreign visitors from 14 to 10 days as of 1 April 2021. Source
• France’s Prime Minister, Emmanuel Macron, announces a month-long lockdown of several regions, including Paris to stop a third wave of coronavirus. Source

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