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Several European countries have halted using the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine amid unconfirmed fears that the shot may have led to serious blood clots. Both the World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) say there is no evidence the jabs caused clotting issues.
AstraZeneca has said 17 million people had so far received the jab, and the blood clot incidents were “much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population”.
Austria suspended the use of a single batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine last Monday after a person was diagnosed with multiple thrombosis and died 10 days after vaccination.
Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, Lithuania and Romania
These countries also suspended vaccinations but only those from the same batch as Austria, named ABV5300 and sent to 17 countries, with 1m doses.
Denmark was one of the first countries to suspend all AstraZeneca vaccinations after a 60-year-old woman formed a blood clot and subsequently died. The country’s national health agency said on Thursday it had not established a link between the clots and the vaccine but would pause for two weeks.
Norway and Iceland
The two countries followed Denmark on the same day. “We are waiting for more information to see if there is a link between the vaccine and this blood clot case,” said Geir Bukholm of Norway’s National Institute of Health.
The Netherlands and Ireland
The Dutch and Irish health ministries said on Sunday they were suspending use of the vaccine as a precautionary measure following reports of a death and three hospitalisations in Norway the day before. The Dutch health minister, Hugo de Jonge, said: “We can’t allow any doubts about the vaccine.”
The German health ministry said on Monday the country’s vaccine authority, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, “considers further investigation necessary after new reports of cerebral brain thrombosis in connection with vaccination in Germany and Europe”.
President Emmanuel Macron said France would also stop administering the AstraZeneca shot “out of precaution” and hoped to resume when the EMA finished an investigation, expected on Thursday.
Italy, which had previously banned the same ABV5300 batch as Austria, widened its ban to all batches of AstraZeneca vaccines on Monday. The country’s medicines authority, Aifa, said it would suspending inoculations as a “precautionary and temporary measure” before the EMA decision.
The Spanish health minister said late on Monday the government would suspend the vaccine for at least two weeks.
Source: The Guardian
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