Austria has temporarily suspended the use of a specific batch of AstraZeneca vaccines based on the death of a patient who was diagnosed with multiple thrombosis (blood clots) after being vaccinated with the product.
Another patient who was vaccinated suffered a pulmonary embolism but is currently recovering.
In February, Austria’s Health Minister Rudolf AschoberAnschober announced Austria had ordered six million doses of vaccine, with 4.7 million extra doses from Moderna, bringing the total of vaccines ordered for Austria up to 31 million doses of vaccines.
However, a batch of one million doses, from Aztrazeneca known as ABV5300 was reportedly responsible for the multiple thrombosis diagnosed in vaccinated patients.
This batch was also delivered in 16 other countries in the European Union, including Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands.
While Austria intends to suspend its use for 14 days, seven European countries, including Denmark, Norway, Estonia and Luxembourg, on Thursday halted the use of the ABV5300 batch.
Meanwhile, in Italy, national and Sicilian media have reported the deaths of two Sicilian men a few days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. According to a report from Reuters, Italian health authorities ordered the withdrawal of a batch of AstraZeneca vaccine after the deaths, but it was a precautionary measure and no direct link had been established. Local media reported that a 43-year-old navy officer died of a heart attack the day after his shot and a 50-year-old policeman died some 12 days after being diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis after his jab.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) in a statement on Wednesday said, “There is currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions, which are not listed as side effects with this vaccine.”
The EMA said: “The information available so far indicates that the number of thromboembolic events in vaccinated people is no higher than that seen in the general population,” adding that, as of March 9, 22 thromboembolic cases had been reported among the three million people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
However, the EMA has launched an investigation into the product to determine if the deaths and illnesses were vaccine-related. The quality of the batch used in Austria will be inspected for possible defects.