COVID-19: European Union states resume AstraZeneca vaccine rollout after blood clot concerns

The battle between vaccine and virus is raging on as the COVID-19 war continues around the world.

But there's one bit of encouraging news - the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has been given the safety tick following concerns about blood clots in some patients.

On Friday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave it the all clear, saying the benefits far outweigh any possible risk.

"The committee has come to a clear scientific conclusion, this is a safe and effective vaccine," the EMA said. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also thrown his support behind the vaccine, announcing he will get it tomorrow. 

And other countries have joined in announcing they'll resume the rollout. But it's been a deadly week with a further 14,000 COVID-19 deaths across EU member states.

Hospitals across the Czech Republic are at full capacity with some systems near collapse. Meanwhile, Paris is about to enter a month-long lockdown as France faces a third wave.

Italy marked the anniversary of one of its worst days in the pandemic under a new lockdown amid a surge of infections.

And in the US, which leads the world in COVID-19 cases, they're about to hit 100-million vaccine shots. But that's not enough to stop hotspots emerging as restrictions relax.

Dr Peter Hotez, Baylor College of Medicine, says the vaccination campaign is a race against time. 

"It's a race to see if we can vaccinate ahead of the B117 variant before it sweeps through the country." 

Second behind the US, Brazil this week posted record numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

India, in third, isn't taking any chances, delaying shipments of millions of AstraZeneca vaccines to the UK and prioritising them for themselves.

India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar says the "supply of vaccines abroad is based on the assessment of adequate availability at home". 

New Zealand has ordered 3.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine but it is yet to be approved.