Health authorities in Denmark, Norway and Iceland suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday after reports of blood clots forming in some people who had been vaccinated

Austria stopped using a number of AstraZeneca shots earlier when investigating death from coagulation disorders and disease from pulmonary embolism

Still, the European Medicines Agency, EMA, said the vaccine’s benefits outweighed its risks and could continue to be administered

Europe is struggling to accelerate vaccine rollouts following delivery delays from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, although a surge in cases amid a contagious virus variant in countries like Italy and France has led to new lockdowns

Denmark suspended the shots for two weeks after a 60-year-old woman who received an AstraZeneca shot from the same batch used in Austria formed a blood clot and died, Danish health officials said

Their reaction was also triggered by reports of “possible serious side effects” from other European countries

“It is currently not possible to determine whether there is a link. We are acting early, it has to be investigated thoroughly,” said Health Minister Magnus Heunicke on Twitter

“This is a cautious decision,” said Geir Bukholm, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the Norwegian Institute for Public Health (FHI), at a press conference

“We … are waiting for information to see if there is any connection between the vaccination and this case with a blood clot,” said Bukholm

Iceland suspended the vaccine on Thursday as it awaited the results of an investigation by the EMA. Italy also announced on Thursday that it would suspend the use of a batch of AstraZeneca other than that used in Austria

Some health professionals said there was little evidence that the AstraZeneca vaccine should not be given and that the incidence of blood clots was consistent with the rate of such cases in the general population

“The problem with spontaneous reports of suspected vaccine side effects is the tremendous difficulty in distinguishing a causal effect from a coincidence,” Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, told Reuters. p>

Phil Bryan, head of the UK’s Medicines and Health Products Regulator (MHRA), said reports of blood clots so far have not exceeded what would have naturally occurred in the vaccinated population

To date, more than 11 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered across the UK

In a statement, AstraZeneca said it had found no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis in safety data of more than 10 million records, even when subgroups were considered by age, gender, production batch or country of use

“In fact, the observed number of these types of events in vaccinated people is significantly lower than would be expected in the general population,” he added

The drug company said this week that there had been “no confirmed serious adverse events related to the vaccine, it was said to be in contact with the Austrian authorities and fully support their investigations

The European Union’s drug regulator, the EMA, said on Wednesday that there was no evidence yet that could link AstraZeneca to the two cases in Austria

It was reported that the number of thromboembolic events – characterized by the formation of blood clots – was no higher in people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine than in the general population 22 cases have been reported among the 3 million people who received the 9th century shot March

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Four other countries – Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Latvia – have suspended vaccinations from the batch while investigations continue, the EMA


“There is nothing to suggest that the vaccine causes these types of blood clots,” Veronica Arthurson, director of drug safety at the Swedish Medical Devices Agency, told a press conference

The Danish Medicines Agency announced that it had initiated an investigation into the vaccine together with relevant bodies in other EU countries and the EMA

So far, 138 have148 Danes in a country of 5 to receive AstraZeneca vaccine shot8 million The Nordic country, which also uses Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, is set to receive 2.6 million doses of AstraZeneca in the coming months

The Danish Health Authority announced that the final date for the full vaccination of all Danes will be postponed by four weeks to August 15

Spain announced on Thursday that it has not yet registered any cases of blood clots related to AstraZeneca’s vaccine and will continue to administer the shots

(Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Copenhagen and Victoria Klesty in Oslo; Additional reporting by Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt, Johan Ahlander in Stockholm, Crispian Balmer in Rome and Kate Kelland in London Editing by Alex Richardson, Nick Macfie and Bernadette Baum)

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World News – CA – Denmark, Norway, Iceland temporarily suspend use of AstraZeneca vaccine