The Netherlands and Ireland joined a host of countries temporarily halting the use of the vaccine following reports of blood clotting and low platelet count in Norway and Denmark. (PIC-UNI)
The Netherlands became the latest country to suspend the use of the COVID-19 vaccine, after reports from Denmark and Norway about possible serious side effects. The Dutch government said that it would suspend the use until March 29.
On Saturday, the Norwegian Medicines Agency had said that more cases of blood clotting were reported in adults who got the shots of AstraZeneca vaccine.
These are complaints other than the limited number of reports of thrombosis after vaccination, on which the MEB based itself for this weekend. The MEB indicates that a total of six new reports of possible side effects have been received from Denmark and Norway. These are serious, rare signs of clot formation (thrombosis) and a reduced number of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia) in adults under 50 years of age. No similar cases are currently known in the Netherlands, it added.
The move follows a clash between the police and anti-lockdown protesters in The Hague, a day before a three-day general election. The police arrested 20 people, used water cannon on protesters after they broke COVID-19 lockdown measures.
Ireland's health officials recommended suspending the use of the COVID-19 vaccine after reports of blood clotting and lower blood platelet counts in Norway and Denmark.
Dr. Ronan Glynn, the country's deputy chief medical officer, said that the suspension was recommended as a precaution as there was no conclusive link between the vaccine and the possible side effects.
AstraZeneca said on Sunday that there was no evidence of increased risk of blood clots from its vaccine, after a review of safety data of people vaccinated with its vaccine.
"A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and UK with the COVID-19 vaccine of 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.
Last week, other European countries, such as Denmark, Iceland and Norway, too had suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after Austria said it was investigating the death of woman, who took shot of the vaccine.