Wednesday, May 25

Netherlands suspends AstraZeneca jab for under 60s over fear of blood clots

The Netherlands has temporarily stopped the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for people under the age of 60 as a “precaution”.

in a statement on Friday afternoon, the country’s health ministry said it was acting on a new report from the independent advisory body Lareb.

The report concerned five women in the country between the ages of 25 and 65 who had suffered blood clots after receiving the injection. “Similar reports have also come in from other EU countries,” added the Dutch authorities.

Doctors have been advised to cancel all appointments for those under 60 years of age until further notice. Approximately 400,000 people in the Netherlands have received the AstraZeneca injection so far, out of around 2.3 million doses of vaccine administered so far across the country.

The ban comes two weeks after the European Medicines Agency determined that the AstraZeneca vaccine was “safe and effective,” but said it could not definitively rule out the increased risk of blood clots as a side effect of the injection.

The EMA’s pharmacovigilance committee is due to give an update on AstraZeneca next Wednesday, after which the Dutch authorities have said they will review the decision.

What’s next for AstraZeneca in the European Union?

Three days ago Germany too restricted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 60 years of age and belonging to high-risk categories.

The country’s medical regulator announced that it had received a total of 31 reports of rare blood clots in patients, nine of whom had died and all but two were women ages 20 to 63.

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Several countries, including Italy, Austria and the Baltic countries, resumed the deployment of AstraZeneca in all age groups after the EMA. the conclusions were published March 19th.

The Spanish Ministry of Health also Announced yesterday I was removing the upper age limit for vaccines with AstraZeneca. Those 65 and older in priority groups, such as teachers and healthcare workers, can now receive the jab alongside younger cohorts.

But other European states remain cautious. France has temporarily restricted its use to people over 55 years of age, while Sweden and Finland have authorized the use of AstraZeneca only in patients over 65 years of age.

Complete suspensions of vaccines with AstraZeneca also remain in force in Norway and Denmark due to current concerns about a small number of serious blood clots reported in those countries. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has said it will make a decision no earlier than April 15.

For its part, UK drug regulator MHRA has said it identified 30 cases of blood clots in people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK, emphasizing that the benefits outweighed the “very low” risk reported. to more than 18 million doses. administered.

In a statement this afternoon, AstraZeneca said it was working with the Dutch authorities to address any questions they had. “Authorities in the UK, the European Union and the World Health Organization have concluded that the benefits of using our vaccine to protect people from this deadly virus significantly outweigh the risks in all adult age groups,” he said.

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