Germany, France, Italy and Spain suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine on Monday over the latest reports of blood clots in people who were administered the drug.
World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan later on Monday called for calm and said countries should continue AstraZeneca immunisations
The string of suspensions is the latest blow to Europe’s relationship with the pharmaceutical company after a row earlier this year over supply shortages.
Germany ban the AstraZeneca vaccine
The German Health Ministry said its decision was taken as a “precaution” and on the advice of national vaccine regulator the Paul Ehrlich Institute, which called for further investigation.
The ministry said the European Medicines Agency (Ema) would decide “whether and how the new information will affect the authorisation of the vaccine”.
The reported blood clots involved cerebral veins, but the ministry didn’t specify where or when the incidents occurred.
France ban AstraZeneca
French President Emmanuel Macron said medical workers would stop administering AstraZeneca’s vaccine pending an assessment from the Ema, due on Tuesday.
“The decision, which has been taken out of precaution, is to suspend vaccinating with the AstraZeneca vaccine in the hope that we can resume quickly if the EMA gives the green light,” he said.
Italy will not take the risk
Italy will also wait for the regulator’s advice before lifting its suspension, authorities said.
Several other European countries – including Ireland, Austria and the Netherlands – recently suspended use of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University to investigate cases of blood clots that occurred after inoculation.
Norway and Denmark halted use of the vaccine last week after one person in Denmark who had received the drug suffered a blood clot and died.
Norwegian officials reported instances of people “bleeding under the skin” and “severe cases of blood clots or brain haemorrhages in younger people” who had received the vaccine.
AstraZeneca said there was no cause for concern and that there were fewer reported thrombosis cases in vaccinated people than in the general population.
WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom said that the incidence of blood clots wasn’t necessarily linked to the vaccine and that he would be meeting with the European Medicines Agency on Tuesday.
He warned that the greatest global threat remained to be a lack of access to vaccines.
…………………………………Leave a comment