About nine countries have suspended the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine after reports of blood clots.
The nine countries—Norway, Iceland, Austria, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Italy, Latvia and Denmark have temporarily suspended use of the vaccine as a precautionary move after reports of blood clots and one death.
The decisions are a setback for Europe’s vaccination campaign, which has struggled to pick up speed, partly due to the delays in delivering the vaccine.
However, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the UK’s regulatory body have said that there is no indication that vaccination is linked to thromboembolic events
The Danish Health Authority said that one person in Denmark had died after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine and that it would suspend the drug’s use for two weeks while the case was investigated. “It is important to point out that we have not terminated the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine—we are just pausing its use,” said the Danish Health Authority’s director, Soren Brostrøm.
On 10 March the EMA said that Austria had suspended the use of a batch of AstraZeneca vaccines after one person had multiple thrombosis diagnosed and died 10 days after vaccination.
Another person was admitted to hospital with pulmonary embolism after being vaccinated and is now recovering. The EMA said that two other reports of thromboembolic event cases had also been received from that batch, which was delivered to 17 EU countries and comprised a million doses.
However the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, said the organization is aware of precautionary concerns that have been raised regarding one specific batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, namely ABV5300.
The agency noted that investigations are being conducted to determine if the batch is in any way linked to an observed side effect.
“While we await the outcome of the investigations, it is important to clearly state that Nigeria did not receive any doses from the batch of vaccines which is at issue”, NPHCDA said