Australia on Tuesday said it had not yet received more than 3 million doses of previously promised AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses amid export curbs by the European Union, leaving a major hole in its early nationwide inoculation drive.
"In my opinion, we can say it now, it is clear there is a link with the vaccine".
"In summary: in the next few hours we will say the connection exists, but we still have to understand how this happens".
"It is now increasingly hard to say that there is no cause-and-effect relationship between vaccination with AstraZeneca and very rare cases of unusual blood clots associated with low platelet counts", he added.
A government spokesman said yesterday: "The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives in this country".
Questions on whether or not AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine causes serious blood clots have been circulating over the past weeks, with a number of countries halting their rollout of the vaccine.
The EMA last week recommended that countries should keep using the AstraZeneca vaccine because the benefits outweighed the risks, as countries including Italy suspended their rollout of the jab. "But we still do not know what causes this reaction".
"The U.K. needs to be on high alert as it starts using the vaccine in younger people", Sam Fazeli, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote in a report.
"Among the vaccinated, there are more cases of cerebral thrombosis. among young people than we would expect".
But, when asked if the incidence of rare blood clots can be linked directly to the vaccine, Mr Cavaleri replied: "In my opinion we can now say it - it is clear there is an association with the vaccine".
So far in Ireland, over 203,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have now been administered.
The majority of Australia's near 26 million population will be administered the AstraZeneca vaccine, with 50 million doses set to be produced locally from the end of March.
In Germany, there have been 31 suspected cases of CVST - 19 accompanied by a drop in blood platelets - with nine deaths, according to the Paul-Ehrlich Institute.