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The World Health Organization expects there will be no reason to change its assessment that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 outweigh any risks, a regulatory official told a news conference this afternoon. 

The WHO is closely studying the latest data alongside European and other regulators, in light of reports of blood clots among people who have been vaccinated, said Rogerio Gaspar, WHO director of regulation and prequalification.

He said the WHO expects to reach a fresh assessment on Wednesday or Thursday, but does not believe there will be a reason to change its advice that the benefits outweigh any risks.

"There is no link for the moment between the vaccine and thrombotic events with thrombocytopenia," Gaspar said."The appraisal we have for the moment - and this is under consideration by the experts - is that the benefit-risk assessment for the vaccine is still largely positive.

"For the time being, there is no evidence that the benefit-risk assessment for the vaccine needs to be changed."

At the same press conference Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO, said it's a "travesty" that some countries still do not had enough access to vaccines to begin inoculating health workers and the most vulnerable people.

"Scaling up production and equitable distribution remains the major barrier to ending the acute stage of the Covid-19 pandemic," Dr Tedros said. 

The president of Namibia, Hage Geingob, one of several world leaders invited to address the WHO news conference for World Health Day, also decried "vaccine apartheid", under which some countries were forced to wait while others received doses.

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