Denmark, Iceland and Norway have stopped administering the
shot while Italy has banned the use of a batch of AstraZeneca doses as a
precaution after an unconfirmed number of people developed blood clots.
Health authorities in Denmark, Norway and Iceland on
Thursday suspended the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine after reports of
blood clots among some people who had received the inoculation.
The Danish Health Authority on Thursday halted the use of
the AstraZeneca vaccine for 14 days.
It follows reports of "serious cases of blood clots
among vaccinated people," a statement read.
However, the authority stopped short of saying there was a
direct link between the vaccine and the blood clots, "at the time
"It is currently not possible to conclude whether there
is a link. We are acting early, it needs to be thoroughly investigated,"
Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Twitter.
Polly Roy, a virologist at the London School of Hygiene and
Tropical Medicine, told DW that she believes the clots were, however,
"probably not due to the vaccine itself."
"Maybe they have some underlying problem," said
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Denmark’s decision to put use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine on hold
Shortly after Denmark's announcement, Iceland and Norway
followed suit and stopped administering the vaccine.
Italy also moved on Thursday to ban a batch of the
AstraZeneca vaccine following reports "of some serious adverse
effects." The country's medicine regulator stressed, however, that there
was currently no established link between the alleged side-effects and the administration
The Danish Medicines Agency said it had launched an
investigation into the vaccine.
The probe is being carried out by corresponding agencies in
other EU-countries as well as the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The EMA is in charge of the evaluation and supervision of
medicinal products across the 27-member EU.
"Both we and the Danish Medicines Agency have to
respond to reports of possible serious side-effects, both from Denmark and
other European countries," the director of the Danish Health Authority,
Soren Brostrom, said in a statement.
Many people in Germany are reluctant to get the vaccine
developed by AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca said its shots are subject to strict and
rigorous quality controls, adding that there have been "no confirmed serious
adverse events associated with the vaccine."
"There is currently no indication that vaccination has
caused these conditions, which are not listed as side effects with this
vaccine," the EMA said in a statement. "The vaccine’s benefits
continue to outweigh its risks."
Spain and France, meanwhile, said the AstraZeneca vaccine
would continue to be administered to citizens in the respective countries.
And French Health Minister Olivier Veran said: "There
is no need to suspend AstraZeneca. The upside of vaccinations at this stage
outweighs the risks."
There had been 22 cases of such events being reported among
the 3 million people who have received the AstraZeneca shot as of March 9.
South Africa halts AstraZeneca vaccine rollout
A delivery of 1 million doses of the vaccine developed by
the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company vaccine went to 17 EU countries.
However, many AstraZeneca doses are going unused in Germany
due to worries that the vaccine is less effective against virus mutations.
South Africa halted the rollout of the vaccine due to a
trial showing it was less effective against the South African B.1.351 COVID
On December 31, 2019, China notifies the World Health Organization of a string of respiratory infections in the city of Wuhan, home to some 11 million people. The root virus is unknown and disease experts around the world begin working to identify it. The strain is traced to a seafood market in the city, which is quickly shut down. Some 40 people are initially reported to be infected.
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