Major European Nations Suspend Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine

Problems pile up on AstraZeneca as Irish, Dutch halt shots

Expert says Canadians should put AstraZeneca European suspensions in context

On Saturday, Norwegian authorities reported that four people under age 50 who had gotten the AstraZeneca vaccine had an unusually low number of blood platelets.

Other countries that have done so over the past few days include Denmark, which was the first, as well as Ireland, Thailand, the Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, Congo and Bulgaria.

In total, Canada is scheduled to receive 23.9 million doses of the vaccine.

Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly has moved to ease concerns, stating there is no need for such action in Australia.

The region, around the northern city of Turin, had initially suspended all AstraZeneca vaccinations in order to identify and isolate the batch from which the jab administered to the teacher came.

Workers unload boxes of AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 that arrived at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, on March 8.

Some Montrealers have refused the newly approved AstraZenea vaccine when showing up to their appointments, officials say, as fears grow about the vaccine's potential side effects.

On Monday Indonesia said it would also delay giving the vaccine.

The Centre West health authority, which runs the Decarie Square mass vaccination clinic, said about 12 per cent of those set to be vaccinated at the clinic over the weekend also refused the AstraZeneca shot.

He said Australia had strong and clear protocols around reporting adverse reactions.

"Halting a vaccine rollout during a pandemic has consequences", Head said.

The federal government insists the vaccine rollout will be completed by October despite a slow start to the program.

"In this case it is significant that two doses of the vaccines offer similar levels of protection to natural immunity, and that we saw no symptomatic infections among those staff who had had two vaccine doses".

"If Astra turns out to be a problem, then we've got very little back-up here in Australia in terms of immunisation".

However, the makers of the vaccine admitted a week later that they didn't plan to test out the vaccine that way, and it was an error that led to some people receiving the half doses.

Australians have been told not to worry about the concern overseas. As more vaccine becomes available, the province will continue offering it to people starting with 64 years old and going backwards by age.

One of those who refused the AstraZeneca shot was Sheldon Ashley, who said he declined it on Sunday at the Olympic Stadium clinic once he was told the brand of vaccine that would be used.

But it said it was unlikely to change its recommendations, issued last month, for widespread use including in countries where the South African variant of the virus may reduce its efficacy.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said there is no proven link and that people should not panic.

Multiple European countries have temporarily suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over reports that the vaccine may cause blood clots in patients.

There have been no publicly reported cases of any side effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine in Cyprus.

"It was an unusual course of illness around the death that made the Danish Medicines Agency react", it said in a statement late on Sunday.

Germany on Monday halted use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, the Health Ministry announced in a statement, with Italy, France and Spain following suit later in the day.

Spahn, the German health minister, defended the country's decision, saying, "The most important thing for confidence is transparency".

"A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and United Kingdom with Covid Vaccine AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country", the company said in a statement.

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