More Countries Halt Rollout of AstraZeneca Vaccine

Ireland and the Netherlands have joined the list of countries that have suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine because of fears over blood clotting. The Dutch Government has announced a suspension until at least March 29th. Both countries have paused their rollout efforts due to reports of “bleeding, blood clots and a low count of blood platelets” in health workers who had recently received the vaccine.

The Republic of Ireland’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer acknowledged in a statement that “it has not been concluded that there is any link between the Covid vaccine AstraZeneca and these cases [of clotting]”.

However, acting on the precautionary principal, and pending receipt of further information, the NIAC (National Immunisation Advisory Committee) has recommended the temporary deferral of the Covid vaccine AstraZeneca vaccination programme in Ireland.

The NIAC is due to meet again this morning. A further statement will follow thereafter.

AstraZeneca addressed these safety concerns in a statement issued at 6pm last night.

A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and UK 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.

So far across the EU and UK, there have been 15 events of DVT and 22 events of pulmonary embolism reported among those given the vaccine, based on the number of cases the Company has received as of 8 March. This is much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed COVID-19 vaccines. …

Furthermore, in clinical trials, even though the number of thrombotic events was small, these were lower in the vaccinated group. There has also been no evidence of increased bleeding in over 60,000 participants enrolled.

One particular batch of AstraZeneca vaccines (which is involved in reports of a death) was sent to 17 countries, an increasing number of which are putting the rollout of this vaccine on hold.

Stop Press: Health officials in Northern Ireland have announced that they will continue to use the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after its suspension in the Republic of Ireland.

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