Europe has been in a full-blown panic over a coronavirus vaccine the science shows to be safe and effective. Beginning early this month, 20 countries halted distribution of the two-dose vaccine from the consortium of Oxford University and U.K. pharma AstraZeneca, after a Danish woman died of blood clotting shortly after getting a dose.
But experts and top health officials are nearly unanimous in objecting to the stoppage, which Europe’s top medical authority on Thursday affirmed was not warranted. There’s no clear link between the clotting and the vaccine, and the panic, experts point out, has been stoked by misinformation. But halting vaccinations—even briefly—could do a whole lot of harm as many European countries experience a fresh surge in coronavirus infections. And the unjustified meltdown over the AstraZeneca jab isn’t just a major setback for Europe’s faltering effort to vaccinate people and slow the pandemic; it has implications for America’s own, more successful effort as well.