Netherlands Suspends Use Of AstraZeneca Vaccine, Followed By Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Iceland, And Thailand

Netherlands Suspends Use Of AstraZeneca Vaccine, Followed By Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Iceland, And Thailand

The Netherlands on Sunday joined a fast-growing list of countries suspending the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine after reports of unexpected possible side effects from the injection.

"The vaccine will not be used until at least March 29 as a precaution, "--Dutch government said in a statement.

The Republic of Ireland earlier made a similar decision over reports of blood clotting in recipients in Norway. But the World Health Organization (WHO) says there is no indication of a link between the vaccine and blood clots.

The report will lead to obstructions in rolling out shots in the Netherlands, which had pre-ordered 12 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

Health authorities had previously scheduled around 290,000 AstraZeneca injections in the coming two weeks.

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The move, which follows a similar conclusion by Ireland earlier in the day, is based on reports from Denmark and Norway of possible serious side effects, the government said.

Three health workers in Norway who had recently taken the vaccine were being treated in hospital for bleeding, blood clumps, and a low count of blood platelets, Norwegian health authorities said on Saturday.

No such cases had been found yet in the Netherlands, the Dutch Health ministry stated, adding there was no proof yet of a direct link between the vaccine and the reports from Denmark and Norway.

We can’t allow any doubts about the vaccine,” -- Dutch Health minister Hugo De Jonge said in his statement. “We have to make sure everything is right, so it is wise to pause for now,” more he added.

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AstraZeneca declared on Sunday a review of safety data of people vaccinated with its Coronavirus vaccine has shown no indication of an increased risk of blood clots.

Late last week, the Dutch government said there was no reason to stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine, as the EMA said there was no evidence it could cause blood clots.

But De Jonge said his decision was informed by new reports, which would now be investigated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The announcements by the Netherlands and Ireland followed similar moves by Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Iceland, and Thailand, have also suspended the use of the vaccine over clotting issues, while Thailand became the first country outside of Europe to do so on Friday.

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Italy’s northern region of Piedmont on Sunday said it would stop using a batch of AstraZeneca vaccines after a teacher died following his vaccination on Saturday. Austria also stopped using a particular batch last week.

"About 17 million people in the European Union and the UK have received a dose of the vaccine, with less than 40 cases of blood clots reported as of last week", -- AstraZeneca said.

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