UT rector: AstraZeneca could still be administered to those who want it

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University of Tartu Rector Toomas Asser. Source: Karli Saul

University of Tartu rector and neurosurgery professor Toomas Asser said that even if the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine is suspended among people under the age of 60, volunteers could still be inoculated if they consider the risks involved.

On Wednesday, the European Medicines Agency said there is a "possible link" to "very rare" cases of blood clotting with the AstraZeneca vaccine but said it can still be used for all people over 18. The agency's statement can be read here. Estonia suspended the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people under the age of 60 the same day.

Asser told Vikerraadio's morning show "Vikerhommik" on Thursday that when speaking of AstraZeneca side effects, it must be noted that they are very rare and practically all medicines have side effects, which can be much more serious than that of AstraZeneca's.

"The components of these complications are very familiar to neurologists and physicians," Asser said.

At the same time, the university rector said that if people still wish to be inoculated with the vaccine, the option could be made available for all.

But risks should be taken into account. "We have a case in Estonia as well, it is not ruled out completely. But people should not feel any vague and indefinite fear," Asser said.

Asser said that once there is more clarity on dangerous side effects, young people should be encouraged to receive the vaccine. "The current position shows a reasonable attitude, we are trying to minimize risk and once things are clearer, we will take a look once more," he noted.

Asser noted that, in essence, the European Medicines Agency's position means that serious side effects and fatal cases are very likely connected to the AstraZeneca vaccine. At the same time, there are treatment options also available.

Asser said people must still monitor their health for two weeks after getting vaccinated and attention should be paid for lasting head or stomach aches, blurry vision, shortness of breath or bruising under the skin.

The rector added that the AstraZeneca vaccine is very effective and people over the age of 60 should certainly get vaccinated.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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