France and Italy suspend AstraZeneca vaccine

Update: Germany, France and Italy suspend vaccination with AstraZeneca

Nearly a dozen countries have stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 as a precaution, after reporting “potential” side effects but without a confirmed link at this point.

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The Anglo-Swedish Medicines Group says that “there is no evidence of an increased risk” of a blood clot resulting from its vaccine, while the World Health Organization (WHO) believes that “there is no reason not to use this vaccine.”

Denmark was the first country on Thursday to suspend the AstraZeneca vaccine “after reports of severe cases of blood clots” in people who were vaccinated.

Iceland soon followed.

Norway also suspended injection of this vaccine on Thursday as a precaution. Several cases of blood clots have been reported in vaccinated adults, but again without establishing any link.

In addition, the Norwegian health authorities expressed concern on Saturday about cases of skin bleeding in relatively young people who received a dose of AstraZeneca vaccine.

And the Norwegian Institute of Public Health warned if no association has yet been identified, “this is dangerous and may be a sign of a low platelet count.”

On Friday, Bulgaria announced the suspension as a “precautionary measure” with the injection of the AstraZeneca vaccine, following decisions taken by the three Nordic countries, while an investigation is underway after the death of a woman who had been vaccinated.

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However, according to the Minister of Health, “no link has been established” at this stage with the vaccination that took place the day before this woman, who was obese and had undergone several coronary artery bypass surgeries.

On Sunday, Ireland and the Netherlands also suspended use of the vaccine, again as a precaution, after cases of blood clots were reported in Denmark and Norway.

Thailand and the Democratic Republic of the Congo postponed the start of the AstraZeneca vaccination campaigns, which were scheduled for Friday and Monday, respectively.

Austria announced on April 8 that the use of the AstraZeneca (ABV5300) vaccine kit was suspended after a 49-year-old nurse died of “serious blood clotting problems”, a few days after she received the vaccine.

Four other European countries – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg – have also stopped using vaccines in this batch of one million doses, which were sent to 17 European countries.

Italy, on Thursday, banned the use of another batch, ABV2856, as a precaution, due to concerns of blood clots. Romania also suspended this group.

The Italian region of Piedmont (northwest Italy) discontinued the AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday after the death of a teacher, then resumed injections, but as a precaution, batch ABV5811 was excluded.

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