The EU’s three biggest countries—France, Italy and Germany—are the latest to suspend AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shots because of fears over blood clots and other possible side effects, despite the company and the WHO insisting there is no risk.
Here’s a recap:
Nordic countries sound alarm
Iceland and Norway follow the same day, temporarily suspending use of all their supply of the vaccine.
A day later Bulgaria suspends the use of the vaccine as it investigates the death of a woman with several underlying conditions who recently received the jab.
An initial probe had suggested the woman died from heart failure and an autopsy found no link with the vaccination.
Thailand abruptly delays the start of its rollout of the vaccine, stopping Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha from getting the first jab.
And the Democratic Republic of Congo, also due to start administering the vaccine, postpones its campaign citing “precautionary measures”.
On Saturday, Norwegian health officials report three more cases of blood clots or brain haemorrhages in younger people who received the jab, but say they can not yet say they were vaccine-related.
Ireland and the Netherlands join the list Sunday, followed by Indonesia and then Germany, Italy and France on Monday.
Announcing its decision, the German health ministry says a closer look is necessary after the reported blood clotting incidents in Europe.
The first halt of a batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine is announced by Austria on March 8, following the death of a 49-year-old nurse from “severe bleeding disorders” days after receiving it.
Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Luxembourg also suspend the use of doses from the same batch, which has been delivered to 17 countries and included one million vaccines.
Italy’s medicines regulator on March 11 also bans the use of a batch as a precaution, triggering a similar decision from Romania.
And on March 14 Italy’s northern Piedmont region suspends use of the vaccine after the death of a teacher who had received it the day before, with a national postponement coming a day later.
© 2021 AFP
Countries halting AstraZeneca vaccine (2021, March 15)
retrieved 15 March 2021
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