European Union countries halt Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine rollout over blood clots

European Union countries halt Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine rollout over blood clots

In a statement, the Health Ministry said that this action is in view of the European Medicines Authority's assertion that there is no indication that the vaccine was the cause of the health complications reported in Austria, and also because the reported health complications are not listed as side effects of the vaccine.

On Wednesday, the EMA said a preliminary probe showed that the batch of AstraZeneca vaccines used in Austria was likely not to blame for the nurse's death.

A health worker administers a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 to a patient inside the convention center known as 'La Nuvola, ' The Cloud, in Rome, March 10, 2021.

Thursday's announcement by Denmark appeared to go further, as it applied to all AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine doses in the country of 5.8 million people.

The Danish Medicines Agency said it had launched an investigation into the vaccine together with corresponding agencies in other European Union countries and the EMA.

The Danish Health and Medicines Authority said the rollout out of the jab would be paused for at least 14 days while investigations are carried out.

"We are waiting for more information to see if there is a link between the vaccine and this blood clot case", he said.

In the Netherlands, 264,000 people have so far been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, and that total is set to reach 1.6 million by the end of the month.

The melee over the vaccine came as the world marked one year since the pandemic was officially declared, and threatened to dim hopes that inoculations are the ticket to returning to normal life.

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On Thursday, the EMA approved the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is stored at warmer temperatures than its competitors and is easier to distribute.

The use of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been suspended in multiple countries.

These include patients with weak immune systems or those taking medication for other conditions that puts them at higher risk of death from Covid-19, the ministry said.

The Danish Health Authority also stressed that the decision was temporary.

Denmark has however suspended the use of all of its AstraZeneca supply. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical company emphasized in a written statement to Reuters that its vaccine's safety was studied extensively during human trials, with peer-reviewed data affirming the "well-tolerated" reaction to the vaccine.

Italy's medicines authority Aifa said earlier that the ban was a "precautionary" measure, adding that no link had been established between the vaccine and subsequent "serious adverse events".

"Available evidence does not confirm that the vaccine is the cause", he said.

Portugal said it would reopen nurseries and primary schools on Monday, as part of a phased plan to ease the country's COVID-19 restrictions. "Now they're trying to say, 'Hey, is this an issue with the vaccine or are these people that we're just going to have blood clots regardless?' And you know, if it was the same thing as being struck by lightning, we would very easily say, 'Well, OK, the vaccine has nothing to do with people being struck by lightning'".

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