AstraZeneca vaccine will be discontinued by France, Italy and Germany after several countries announced possible serious side-effects. World Health Organization (WHO) declared there was no confirmed link and thus people should not panic.
The suspension by EUs big three has poured cold water on AstraZeneca’s struggling vaccination campaign within the region.
Norway and Denmark ceased to give the jab after some cases of blood clot, a low platelet count and bleeding. Other European countries to join in the ban of the jab are Ireland, Bulgaria, Netherlands and Iceland.
Denmark and Norway stopped giving the shot last week after reporting isolated cases of bleeding, blood clots and a low platelet count. Iceland and Bulgaria followed suit and Ireland and the Netherlands announced suspensions on Sunday.
According to Cadena Ser radio, Spain will cease to use the Vaccine for at least 15 days.
WHO top scientist Soumya Swaminathan insisted there was confirmed association, so far, between so-called “thromboembolic events” reported in some countries.
He added that there were no documented deaths linked to AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccines.
AstraZeneca vaccine Investigated
WHO Boss Tedros Ghebreyesus advised that advisory committee meeting will be held on 16th March 2021 to discuss AstraZeneca Jab.
European Union regulator EMA is also convening this week to evaluate information gathered about AstraZeneca jab thromboembolic contribution.
Paris hospitals are almost overrun, Germany announced it was facing a third wave of infections and Italy was intensifying Lockdowns.
German Health Minister Spahn said the risk of blood clots could not be overlooked and was purely out of precaution. He also added that the decision to stop AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccines was not a political one.
Spahn said the decision was professional based on Paul Ehrlich Institute, Germany’s vaccine regulator’s recommendation.
Italy’s Ministry of Health Director General of Prevention Gianni Rezza defended the decision to stop as precautionary pending EMA’s ruling.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the country was suspending the vaccine’s use out of precaution pending an assessment by EMA.
In Italy’s Piedmont region, prosecutors seized 393,600 doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccines following the death of a man hours after he was vaccinated.
It was the second region to do so after Sicily, where two people had died shortly after having their shots.
WHO Defends AstraZeneca Jab
WHO Director-General Tedros said systems were in place to protect public health. He said this while he appealed to countries not to suspend vaccinations against Covid-19.
The United Kingdom said it had no concerns, while Poland said it thought the benefits outweighed any risks.
The EMA has said that by 10th March 2021, a total of 30 cases of blood clotting had been reported. The clot was among 5 million people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab within the European Economic Area.
AstraZeneca’s shot is set to be the mainstay of vaccination programmes in much of the developing world.
WHO said it’s unlikely to change its recommendations, despite the outcome of its findings. Even in countries where the South African variant of the virus may reduce its efficacy.
The Netherlands said on Monday it had seen 10 cases of possible noteworthy adverse side-effects from the AstraZeneca shot.
Denmark reported “highly unusual” symptoms in a 60-year-old citizen who died from a blood clot after receiving the vaccine.
Norway also reported about three people under the age of 50 it were being treated in hospital. One of the three health workers hospitalised in Norway after receiving the AstraZeneca shot had died, health authorities reported.
AstraZeneca claimed it had conducted a review covering 17 million people vaccinated in the EU and the UK. They said the review dint show any evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.