What Happened: WHO vaccine safety panel considers that the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh its risks. However, the safety review of the blood coagulation cases reported in Europe after the vaccination is ongoing.
On Wednesday, the WHO issued a statement in which it said that “vaccination against COVID-19 will not reduce illness or deaths from other causes.” The organization also noted that the vaccine’s global distribution remains unruffled, despite most European countries stopping the use of the AZN shot.
Some European countries, including Belgium, Poland, and the Czech Republic, have said that they will continue inoculation with the AZN vaccine. Belgium went further, with its health minister saying that pausing the immunization program would be “irresponsible.”
AstraZeneca has vigorously defended its vaccine, saying that the number of blood clots recorded post-vaccination was lower than could be expected to occur naturally.
Why It Matters: With the rise of another wave of COVID-19 cases across Europe, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the E.U. is mulling to halt its vaccine exports unless the U.K. starts shipping shots to the bloc, reports the Guardian.
She said the E.U. had received more than 300 requests for overseas vaccine shipments over the past six weeks and refused just one, and the bloc had exported 41 million doses to 33 countries.
The majority of vaccines exported from the E.U. to the U.K. have been made by Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) / BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX). The E.U. has blocked only one export request shipment of 250,000 Oxford/AstraZeneca doses from Italy to Australia.
While BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna were meeting their contractual obligations to the bloc, AstraZeneca was on course to deliver just 30 million of its promised 90 million does in Q1.
Price Action: AZN shares are trading 0.9% lower at $49.60 in market trading hours on the last check Wednesday.