The World Health Organization said Friday it is reviewing recent reports of blood clots in some people who received the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine that has prompted a few countries to halt their rollout of the shots.
At least nine countries, including Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Thailand, have suspended their use of the vaccine over safety concerns. As of Wednesday, around 5 million people in Europe had received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Of this figure, 30 so-called thromboembolic events have been reported in recipients. Those are blood clots that form in blood vessels and block blood flow.
AstraZeneca said in a statement Friday that there’s “no evidence” that the vaccine causes an increased risk of developing blood clots.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday that the agency’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety “systematically reviews safety signals and is carefully assessing the current reports on the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
“As soon as WHO has gained the full understanding of these events,” he added. “The findings and any changes to our current recommendations will be communicated immediately to the public.”
Dr Mariangela Simao, WHO assistant-director general for access to medicines and health products, added that the global health agency will “probably have a statement on this next week as investigations are completed.”
“WHO is very much aligned with the position that we should continue immunization until we have clarified the causal relationship,” she said.
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist, said it remains unclear if the vaccine is actually causing the blood clots. An AstraZeneca spokesperson noted that “the observed number of these types of events are significantly lower in those vaccinated than what would be expected among the general population.”
“The adverse events which are reported after vaccination have to be seen in the context of events which occur naturally in the population,” Swaminathan said. “Just because it’s reported following a vaccination doesn’t mean that it’s because of the vaccination. It could be completely unrelated.”
Europe’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency, has stressed that there is no indication the AstraZeneca shot is causing blood clots, adding it believes the vaccine’s benefits “continue to outweigh its risks.”
“Reports of blood clots received so far are not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population,” said Dr. Phil Bryan, vaccines safety lead at Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory.
“The safety of the public will always come first. We are keeping this issue under close review but available evidence does not confirm that the vaccine is the cause. People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so,” he added.
President Buhari To Speak At The 76th UN General Assembly By 2 PM
President Muhammadu Buhari is set to address the 76th Session of the high-level General Debate of the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The Nigerian leader will deliver his address at 2 PM Nigerian time (9 AM in New York) to other world leaders during the morning session.
Buhari will speak to the theme of the Assembly and other global issues.
The theme for the 76th session is, “Building Resilience Through Hope – To Recover from COVID-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People and Revitalise the United Nation’’.
Friday’s session will also include speeches by leaders from The Gambia, South Sudan, Republic of Benin, Senegal and Germany, among others.
The Nigerian leader has participated in some bilateral meetings with a number of leaders of other countries’ delegations and heads of International Development organisations.
Buhari has met with the President of Burundi, Evariste Ndayishimiye, held a meeting with Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation and also attended the UN Food Systems Summit.
The Nigerian leaders also held a bilateral meeting with Her Majesty, Maxima Zorreguieta, Queen of The Netherlands and participated at a hybrid High-Level event, tagged “Transformative Actions for Nature and People”.
In addition, the President delegation had participated in other high-level meetings such as the Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action on Reparations, Racial Justice and Equality for People of African Descent.
The delegation is also attended the High-Level Plenary Meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, among others.
Over 8,000 Nigerian Doctors Now Work In UK, 353 Registered In The Last 100-Day
The United Kingdom (UK) registered about 353 Nigerian doctors in the last 100 days, according to data from the General Medical Council – the body which licenses and maintains the official register of medical practitioners in the UK.
The GMC licensed at least 353 Nigerian-trained doctors between June 10, 2021, and September 20, 2021.
The statistics also showed that between July 24, 2020, and September 21, 2021, about 862 Nigeria-trained doctors were licensed in the UK despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The data also showed that 8,737 doctors who obtained their degrees in Nigeria currently practice in the UK.
Officials of the National Association of Resident Doctors are speculating that the rate of migration might double in the coming weeks since doctors were not given the right remuneration.
They said that many Nigerian doctors are migrating to Saudi Arabia, which might be more than those moving to the UK.
A poll by NOI in 2018 showed that 88 percent of Nigerian doctors were considering work opportunities abroad, but experts say the figure may be higher due to the rising insecurity and economic crunch.
Elections in Africa Must Follow Democratic Process – Osinbajo
Africans must continue to make the extra effort in ensuring that elections in the continent go through the democratic process, remain transparent and fair, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
He said this yesterday while receiving the President-elect of Sao Tome and Principe, Mr. Carlos Manuel Vila Nova who paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa.
On the 18th of July, 2021, elections were held in Sao Tome to replace President Evaristo Carvalho, whose tenure expired on 3rd September, 2021. Based on constitutional provisions, an outright winner did not emerge from the polls and a run-off led to the emergence of Mr. Vila Nova, who would be sworn in 2nd October, 2021.
According to Prof Osinbajo “there is no question at all that for those of us in Africa, we must make the extra effort to ensure that the democratic process is very transparent. It is such a pleasure to see that that was what took place in your country which led to your election.”
Speaking about areas of cooperation between both countries, the Vice President said, “we already talked about some of the areas of cooperation…your tenure might be an opportunity to bring some of those things to fruition.”
Prof Osinbajo reassured Mr. Manuel Vila Nova of Nigeria’s support to ensure that “your tenure is as comfortable and effective as possible as partners and friends.”
In his own remarks, President-elect Vila Nova expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting Sao Tome and also thanked the Vice President for his attention, stating that Nigeria is a “friendly country” and the relationship between both countries dates back many years.
In attendance at the meeting were the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, and a member of the Sao Tome and Principe’s cabinet, Mr. Americo de Oliveira Ramos.
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