Eight countries have now suspended the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine over fears of blood clots. Several health authorities have halted giving AstraZeneca shots and plan to investigate whether the vaccine can potentially lead to forming clots in the blood of receivers. Nevertheless, the pharmaceutical company seems to insist that its vaccine is safe.
As of this writing 8 countries have stopped using AstraZeneca shots. Countries include Indonesia, The Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Bulgaria, and finally Germany. The decision came after concerns were raised that the vaccine can lead to collateral damage on the health of shots’ receivers.
The pharmaceutical company said in a statement, Sunday, that there is no evidence that its vaccine shots can lead to blood clots. The company argued that it had already reviewed safety data from over 17 million people who received the vaccine in the United Kingdom and Europe and only found few clot-related effects. It added that it’s normal to have few clot-linked cases in a group of that size.
AstraZeneca said that the findings are “much lower” than expected in the general population. The company’s chief medical officer Ann Taylor said in a statement that in the general population getting the vaccine, there would be “hundreds” of blood clots side effects. She added that AstraZeneca was “going beyond the standard practices” to manage the safety of the vaccine.
Health agencies urge countries to continue using AstraZeneca
However, several countries — particularly Europe — have halted the AstraZeneca shots after the statement. And on Monday, Netherlands, Indonesia and Germany also paused the use of the shots. Thailand had paused the shots on the same day but said that it would re-start using the vaccine on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said that countries should not stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine. UK’s MHRA and The European Medicines Agency have also backed the vaccine and urged countries to keep using it. To this moment, the pharmaceutical company hasn’t demanded authorization for the jab in the United States yet.
Dr. Peter English, a retired consultant in communicable disease control, told the Science Media Centre:
“When a vaccine is administered to millions of people. It is inevitable that some adverse events — that would have happened anyway — will happen shortly after vaccination.”
“It is most regrettable that countries have stopped vaccination on such ‘precautionary’ grounds: it risks doing real harm to the goal of vaccinating enough people to slow the spread of the virus, and to end the pandemic.”