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COVID-19: Common approach to vaccination needed: EU HMs

During an urgent online meeting, the EU health ministers agreed on the need for counteracting the decline in confidence in COVID-19 vaccination and presenting a harmonised approach at the EU level in this matter. The meeting was organised after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on Wednesday that benefits from using the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risk of potential side effects.

The meeting was attended, among others, by the EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and the head of the EMA Emer Cooke.

Reportedly, the head of the EMA quoted at the meeting previously published conclusions of the agency’s report indicating that the overall benefits of AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the potential risks of adverse effects.

“Ministers exchanged information on the current use of AstraZeneca vaccines in the implementation of vaccination plans and the preferred way forward in this regard following the publication of the EMA report. On the one hand, there is a need to develop a harmonised approach at the EU level. On the other hand, Member States are making different decisions regarding the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” an EU source told the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

At the meeting, Ms Kyriakides allegedly expressed her hope for a common approach to the COVID-19 vaccination process and proposed to initiate urgent consultations on this matter at the level of Member States’ experts. She also referred to the issue on social media.

The AstraZeneca experience shows that our pharmacovigilance system works. But is essential that we follow a coordinated approach across the 🇪🇺.

We must speak with one voice across the EU to improve public trust in vaccinations.

— Stella Kyriakides (@SKyriakidesEU) April 7, 2021

The Permanent Representation of the Republic of Poland to the EU announced that the Polish delegation was headed by Minister of Health Adam Niedzielski.

The head of the EMA at a press conference on Wednesday stressed that the benefits of using the AstraZeneca vaccine to prevent COVID-19 outweigh the risk of potential side effects. She argued that the vaccine is effective because it prevents the disease, as well as hospitalisation and death caused by it.

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