Several European countries halt of use of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine over fears of blood clots

Multiple European countries have suspended giving doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine while European Union regulators investigate whether the shot could be linked to reports of blood clots.

The European Medicines Agency said this week that 22 cases of blood clots had been reported as of 9 March among more than 3 million people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shot in Europe.

Danish health authorities said Thursday they were temporarily suspending the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine after some patients developed blood clots since receiving the jab.

The move comes “following reports of serious cases of blood clots among people vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine”, the Danish Health Authority said in a statement.

Both the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker and Europe’s medicines regulator said the vaccine was safe as Denmark, Norway and Iceland announced on Thursday they were temporarily halting all AstraZeneca vaccinations to investigate the cases.

Four other European countries — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxemburg — have also suspended the use of vaccines from this batch, which was sent to 17 European countries and consisting of one million jabs.

It said that AstraZeneca did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday. The company previously said the safety of the vaccine was demonstrated in clinical trials, while a review of more than 10 million shot records found no evidence of increased rates of the clots that can lodge deep in the legs or turn deadly when they reach the lungs.

In February, South Africa paused the rollout of the Astrazeneca vaccine after results showed that it was less effective against the Covid-19 infection from the 501Y.V2 Coronavirus variant, first identified locally in November 2020.

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