These countries have suspended AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine use
- Several European Union members temporarily halted the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as a precautionary measure.
Italy on Monday became the latest European country to suspend the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) following a similar announcement from Germany and France, despite the European Union medicines regulator’s advice that its benefits still outweigh risks. Several EU members temporarily halted the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as a precautionary measure while the health authorities investigate the reports of some patients developing blood clots after receiving the shot, including one case in Denmark where a person died.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) released a statement last Thursday, saying it was aware of Denmark’s decision to pause its vaccination campaign, but insisted there was no indication that vaccination has caused blood coagulation. “The position of EMA’s safety committee PRAC is that the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks and the vaccine can continue to be administered while investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing,” EMA’s statement read.
Here’s the list of countries that have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine:
Denmark: The Danish authorities suspended vaccinations on March 11 for two weeks as a “precautionary measure” following the death of one person who received the shot.
Norway: The Nordic country decided to pause vaccinations on March 11 following reports of death in Denmark.
Iceland: Although there were no reports of patients in the country developing blood clots, the island nation chose to halt the vaccine on March 11.
Bulgaria: Bulgarian government suspended inoculations using the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 12, urging EMA to send a written statement dispelling all doubts about the vaccine's safety.
Ireland: On March 14, the European nation decided to temporarily suspend its use to "maintain confidence" in its vaccine program, according to the chairperson of its National Immunisation Advisory Committee.
The Netherlands: The Dutch government said it would halt the use of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for two weeks “as a precautionary measure and pending further investigation.”
Germany: German health ministry said that it is suspending the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a “precaution” and on the advice of the national vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, which called for further investigation of the cases.
France: French President Emmanuel Macron said that the country will stop administering the vaccine pending an assessment by the EMA due on Tuesday. He added that the decision has been taken out of precaution in the hope that the inoculations could resume quickly if the regulator "gives the green light."
Apart from these European nations, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and Latvia have also suspended the use of a particular batch of their AstraZeneca vaccine supply.
AstraZeneca said that a “careful review” of all available data on vaccination of 17 million people in the EU and the UK has shown no evidence of “an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia”. As of March 9, at least 22 cases of thromboembolic events, marked by the formation of blood clots, has been reported among 3 million people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“This is much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed Covid-19 vaccines,” the British-Swedish company added.