The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday Covid-19 vaccines are safe, urging African member states to "fight misinformation" and encourage uptake in vaccination.
Dr. John Nkengasong's comments follows assessments of AstraZeneca's vaccine by the European Medicines Agency released on Wednesday, citing a possible link between the vaccine and rare blood clots.
"Really a sincere request to countries and to the media and the community that we join forces to fight misinformation and inaccurate propagation of false information with respect to vaccines. There's plenty of that in the social media. And I think our greatest concern and fear is that it becomes the predominant factor in this equation, which would not benefit anybody", he said.
Dr. Nkengasong said the discovery is testament to the "strong surveillance systems" put in place by independent drug advisory bodies "that led to the identification of those rare events."
The EMA, the World Health Organisation and numerous other health authorities have said repeatedly that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective and that the protection it offers against COVID-19 outweighs the small risks of rare blood clots.
Speaking to the African Union, he said: "Remember, vaccines plus vaccination equals life saved and economy saved."