Germany on Monday halted the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, the Health Ministry announced in a statement, with Italy, France and Spain following suit later in the day. Several other EU countries have also stopped use of the vaccine because of the possibility of blood clots.
The German Health Ministry described the move as a “precaution” on the basis of advice from the national health regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI). According to the Health Ministry, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will decide “whether and how the new information will affect the authorization of the vaccine” pending an investigation.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn said “the decision is a professional, not political one,” following advice from the PEI. Spahn said the risk of blood clots from the AstraZeneca jab is low, but could not be ruled out.
“The most important thing for confidence is transparency,” Spahn said during a briefing.