Well being authorities in Denmark, Norway and Iceland on Thursday suspended using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine photographs following stories of the formation of blood clots in some individuals who had been vaccinated. Austria earlier stopped utilizing a batch of AstraZeneca photographs whereas investigating dying from coagulation problems and an sickness from a pulmonary embolism.
Nonetheless, the European drugs regulator EMA mentioned the vaccine’s advantages outweighed its dangers and will proceed to be administered.
Europe is struggling to hurry up a vaccine rollout after supply delays from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, at the same time as a spike in circumstances amid a extra contagious virus variant has triggered contemporary lockdowns in international locations like Italy and France.
Denmark suspended the photographs for 2 weeks after a 60-year-old lady, who was given an AstraZeneca shot from the identical batch utilized in Austria, shaped a blood clot and died, Danish well being authorities mentioned. Their response was additionally prompted by stories ”of potential severe unintended effects” from different European international locations.
”It’s at present not potential to conclude whether or not there’s a hyperlink. We’re appearing early, it must be completely investigated,” Well being Minister Magnus Heunicke mentioned on Twitter. The vaccine can be suspended for 14 days in Denmark.
”This can be a cautionary determination,” Geir Bukholm, director of an infection prevention and management on the Norwegian Institute of Public Well being (FHI), advised a information convention.
FHI didn’t say how lengthy the suspension would final.
”We … await info to see if there’s a hyperlink between the vaccination and this case with a blood clot,” Bukholm mentioned.
Iceland on Thursday suspended jabs with the vaccine because it awaited the outcomes of an investigation by the EMA. Italy, additionally on Thursday, mentioned it could droop use of an AstraZeneca batch totally different to the one utilized in Austria.
Some well being consultants mentioned there was little proof to counsel the AstraZeneca vaccine shouldn’t be administered and that the circumstances of blood clots corresponded with the speed of such circumstances within the basic inhabitants.
”The issue with spontaneous stories of suspected hostile reactions to a vaccine are the large issue of distinguishing a causal impact from a coincidence,” Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology on the London Faculty of Hygiene & Tropical Drugs, advised Reuters.
Evans added that the COVID-19 illness was very strongly related to blood clotting.
Phil Bryan, head of the UK Medicines and Healthcare Merchandise Regulatory Company (MHRA) mentioned stories of blood clots to this point didn’t exceed what would have occurred naturally within the vaccinated inhabitants.
”Obtainable proof doesn’t verify that the vaccine is the trigger,” he mentioned.
Greater than 11 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine have to this point been administered throughout the UK.
AstraZeneca advised Reuters in a written assertion the security of its vaccine had been extensively studied in human trials and peer-reviewed information confirmed it was usually properly tolerated.
The drugmaker mentioned this week there had been ”no confirmed severe hostile occasions related to the vaccine”. It mentioned it was involved with Austrian authorities and would totally help their investigation.
The European Union’s drug regulator, the EMA, mentioned on Wednesday there was no proof to this point linking AstraZeneca to the 2 circumstances in Austria.
It mentioned the variety of thromboembolic occasions – marked by the formation of blood clots – in individuals who have acquired the AstraZeneca vaccine was no greater than that seen within the basic inhabitants, with 22 circumstances reported among the many three million individuals who have acquired the shot as of March 9.
EMA mentioned it understood the choice by Denmark and Norway was taken as a precaution.
4 different international locations – Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Latvia – have stopped inoculations from the batch whereas investigations proceed, the EMA mentioned.
The batch of 1 million doses went to 17 EU international locations.
Swedish authorities mentioned they didn’t discover adequate proof to cease vaccination with AstraZeneca’s jab.
”There’s nothing to point that the vaccine causes this kind of blood clots,” Veronica Arthurson, head of drug security on the Swedish Medical Merchandise Company, advised a information convention.
The Danish Medicines Company mentioned it had launched an investigation into the vaccine along with corresponding businesses in different EU international locations and the EMA.
Thus far, 138,148 Danes have acquired a shot with AstraZeneca’s vaccine in a rustic of 5.eight million. The Nordic nation, which additionally makes use of vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, is about to obtain 2.6 million doses from AstraZeneca over the approaching months.
Denmark’s Well being Authority mentioned the ultimate date for when it expects all Danes to have been totally vaccinated can be pushed again by 4 weeks to Aug. 15.
Spain on Thursday mentioned it had not registered any circumstances of blood clots associated to AstraZeneca’s vaccine to this point and would proceed administering the photographs. The EU’s medication regulator on Thursday permitted Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.