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Germany Joins List of Countries Who Suspended Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine

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.

EMA meeting over vaccine safety

French President Emmanuel Macron said France would suspend the use of the vaccine, pending a review from the EMA, though he also said the suspension may be brief.

The EMA, meanwhile, said it will hold a special conference on Thursday to conclude its assessment of the vaccine.

“EMA currently remains of the view that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalization and death, outweigh the risks of side effects,” the EMA said in a statement on Monday.

In addition to Germany, Italy, France and Spain on Monday, other nations across Europe and worldwide had halted use of the vaccine because of possible clotting risks. Sweden then followed suit on Tuesday.

Last week, Denmark became the first country to suspend implementation, with Norway, Iceland and Bulgaria following.

The suspensions were not limited to Europe. Indonesia also announced a delay to its rollout of the AstraZeneca product, which is cheaper than its competitors and billed as the vaccination of choice for poorer nations.

Other non-European nations to have suspended use of the vaccine include Thailand and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read Full Article >

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