Learning English

Inspiring language learning since 1943

English Change language

English in the News

Intermediate level

AstraZeneca: Safety experts to review vaccine

Episode 210317 / 17 Mar 2021

The story

The use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in some European countries.

Useful vocabulary

blood clots – lumps of almost solid blood that can block your blood vessels

jab – (informal) injection; vaccination

suspending – not doing something for a period of time

review – look at something to see if it needs to be changed or improved

rollouts – start of using (something)

baffled - confused

modified – changed slightly

immune system – the body's system for preventing it from getting ill

Questions about the story 

1. What are some European countries saying the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine does when injected into the body? 

2. Who is meeting to review the vaccine? 

3. What evidence is there of a link between the vaccine and blood clots? 

4. True of false? More people have had blood clots after having the vaccine than do naturally. 

5. Will the 11 European countries ban the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine forever?

More about the story

What has been happening?
Oxford-AstraZeneca is a brand of vaccine that is being used to help prevent people catching coronavirus. But its use has been paused in several European countries following reports of blood clots in a small number of people who have recently been given the jab.

Which countries are doing this?
Eleven European countries temporarily suspending the use of the vaccine, including Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. 

What is happening now?
Vaccine safety experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are meeting to review the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. 

How serious is this?
The decisions by individual nations to pause their rollouts have baffled experts. Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon. As of 10 March, there were 30 reports of clots among almost five million people given the vaccine across Europe - fewer than the number that might be expected to happen naturally. The UK medicines regulator and the WHO also say there is no evidence of a link between the vaccine and blood clots. 

How does the vaccine work?
It is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus in chimpanzees. It has been modified to look more like coronavirus - although it can't cause illness. Once injected, it teaches the body's immune system how to fight the real virus.

Are there other coronavirus vaccines?
Yes. This one is being widely used around the world, but other types of vaccine include Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik V and Moderna.

Find out more from the original report.

The answers

1. What are some European countries claiming the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine
does when injected into the body?
They claim blood clots have developed in a small number of people who have recently been given the injection.

2. Who is meeting to review the vaccine?
Vaccine safety experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are meeting to review the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab.

3. What evidence is there of a link between the vaccine and blood clots?
The UK medicines regulator and the WHO say there is no evidence of a link between the vaccine and blood clots.

4. True or false? More people have had blood clots after having the vaccine than do naturally.
False. As of 10 March, there were 30 reports of clots among almost five million
people given the vaccine across Europe - fewer than the number that might be
expected to happen naturally.

5. Will the 11 European countries ban the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine forever?
It’s not said, but for now, 11 European countries are temporarily suspending the
use of the vaccine.

Next

Learn how to use language of news headlines in News Review.

Improve your vocabulary using real BBC News reports in Lingohack.

Latest English in the News