Eight European countries suspend vaccination with AstraZeneca and Spain continues

by Lorraine Williamson

MADRID – Several countries are following Denmark and are stopping vaccination with AstraZeneca due to episodes of thrombosis detected in vaccinated people in Denmark and Austria. Spain is currently not considering suspending vaccination with this vaccine.

Norway, Iceland, Austria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Luxembourg have temporarily stopped vaccinations with this drug. Italy has also blocked the use of AstraZeneca following the deaths of two people. Both in Sicilian cities, these were a 43-year-old soldier and a 50-year-old police officer. 

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has opened an investigation and at the same time called for caution. Because currently, there is no evidence that makes it possible to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between vaccinations and side effects. According to the EMA, only 22 cases of thromboses have been recorded. And approximately 3million people have received the AstraZeneca injection. 

The benefits outweigh the risks

Later on Thursday, the regulator wrote in an advisory report that countries should not stop using the vaccine. (EMA) countries do not have to stop using the vaccine. “EMA’s safety committee believes that the benefits still outweigh the risks and that vaccine administration can continue while the investigation of cases of thrombosis and embolism is ongoing”. 

The Spanish Minister of Health has indicated that Spain is not currently considering suspending vaccinating with AstraZeneca. Darias has referred to the European research. However, in our previous article, Spain decided not to use this vaccine on the elderly.

Both vaccinated from the same batch

The first country to warn of the thrombosis was Austria, after the death of a 49-year-old woman from an episode of “severe coagulation disorders”. Another 35-year-old had pulmonary embolism, but the prognosis was good. Both people had been vaccinated with the same batch of AstraZeneca, consisting of one million doses in 17 countries. This batch was not distributed in Italy, which subsequently reported two other serious events in two vaccinated people. 

All the countries that made decisions to stop vaccinations ensure these are preventive and temporary measures only. 

The UK

As reported by the BBC AstraZeneca said the drug’s safety had been studied extensively in clinical trials. “Regulators have clear and stringent efficacy and safety standards for the approval of any new medicine,” a spokesperson said.

In the UK, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there was no evidence the vaccine had cause problems, and people should still go and get vaccinated when asked to do so. “Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon. More than 11million doses of the Covid-19 AstraZeneca vaccine have now been administered across the UK,” said Phil Bryan of the MHRA.

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