Coronavirus Watch: AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, European regulator says

The European Medicines Agency — the equivalent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — said Thursday that the AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine is safe.

The committee said it “has come to a clear scientific conclusion” that the vaccine is “safe and effective,” despite reports of unusual blood clots in several people among the 18 million who have received at least one dose in Europe and the UK.

The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is not available in the United States, where a large-scale study is finished but has not yet made public. That data is expected within the next few weeks and the company and university are expected to ask for FDA authorization after then.

It’s Thursday, and this is Coronavirus Watch from the USA TODAY Network. Here’s more news to know today:

  • More than 15% of U.S. adults are now fully vaccinated and 28% have had at least one dose, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
  • Utah is among the latest states to announce an expansion in vaccine eligibility: Residents 16 and older are now allowed to get the vaccine starting March 24. Illinois will do the same starting April 12. Nevada is also making its vaccines available to those 16 and older starting Monday, but only if they have an underlying health condition.
  • Sniffer dogs in Thailand trained to detect COVID-19 in human sweat proved nearly 95% accurate during training and could be used to identify coronavirus infections at busy transport hubs, the head of a pilot project told Reuters.

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— Kaanita Iyer, breaking news intern, @kaanitaiyer_ on Twitter

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