France to suspend AstraZeneca COVID vaccine pending EMA guidance

A woman receives an injection of the the Oxford  AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

A woman receives an injection of the the Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

The coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford has now been fully or partially suspended in a number of countries across Europe and Asia, following reports of blood clots in some recipients.

It said that across the European Union and United Kingdom there had been 15 events of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and 22 events of pulmonary embolism reported among those vaccinated.

Ireland and the Netherlands on Sunday became the latest countries to suspend their use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine out of precaution.

Thailand was the first country outside of Europe to stop using the vaccine following safety concerns.

AstraZeneca has said there is no cause for concern with its vaccine and that there were fewer reported thrombosis cases in those who received the shot than in the general population.

The World Health Organization has said no causal link had been established between the vaccine and blood clotting.

"But given the large number of doses administered, and the frequency at which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause", a spokesperson said.

According to experts, the AstraZeneca vaccine is created to prevent the coronavirus in people aged 18 and older.

Irish authorities received some reports of clotting similar to those seen in Europe last week but nothing as serious as the cases in Norway, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn said.

Prof Harnden said analysis of the 11 million doses of the vaccine given so far in the United Kingdom had found "no demonstrable difference between the blood clots in those that have been vaccinated from those in the general population".

Some doctors pointed out that since vaccination campaigns started by giving doses to the most vulnerable people, those now being immunized are more likely to already have health problems.

The EMA on Thursday advised that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks, and did not recommend suspending its use while investigation into thromboembolic events are ongoing.

In addition to low yields producing less vaccine than planned, one plant in the Netherlands is still awaiting regulatory approval to deploy doses.

Dr Taylor said: "The nature of the pandemic has led to increased attention in individual cases and we are going beyond the standard practices for safety monitoring of licensed medicines in reporting vaccine events, to ensure public safety".

File: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine during a visit to a vaccination center at the Health and Well-being Centre in Orpington, southeast London, Feb. 15, 2021.

The EMA is now examining whether COVID-19 shots made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca might be causing low levels of blood platelets in some patients, a condition that could lead to bruising and bleeding.

On the issue of side-effects, Prof Harnden said women were more likely to get them from the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab than were men.

Italy and Austria have stopped using certain batches of the drug as a precautionary measure.

A link between AstraZeneca vaccine shots and the fatal incidents is yet to be established and most deaths are related to coagulation disorders.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been authorised for use in Stri Lanka.

A TOTAL OF 360 people were in hospital with Covid-19 in Ireland as of 11am.

Decisions are expected to focus on schooling and allowing more outdoor activities for young people.

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Germany suspends AstraZeneca vaccine amid clotting concerns