Italy on Thursday welcomed the European Medical Agency's findings that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and announced that inoculations with the jab would re-start on Friday.
"The Italian government is pleased by the EMA's review. Administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine will resume from tomorrow. Our priority remains to vaccinate the greatest number of people in the shortest possible time-frame," premier Mario Draghi tweeted.
"Just a few hours ago there was good news: EMA give a green light to AstraZeneca (to re-start vaccinations), confirming its effectiveness," foreign minister Luigi Di Maio wrote on Facebook.
France, Spain and Germany also said they would resume using the jab. Like Italy and nine other European countries, they paused AstraZeneca vaccine inoculations over fears of a link to blood clots.
EMA's expert committee on medicine safety found that "the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of... blood clots", the agency's chief Emer Cooke said on Thursday.
While EMA could not definitively rule out a link between the vaccine and a "small number of cases of rare and unusual but very serious clotting disorder," the benefits of protection outweigh the risks from the jab , Cooke stated.
Twenty-five cases of "rare thromboembolic events" have been reported among the 20 million people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine, Cooke said.