Greek health authorities stated on Sunday that the inoculation campaign utilizing AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine will continue as scheduled despite concerns in several European countries about its alleged link to thrombosis.
The German government said on Monday that it’s suspending the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine over new reports of dangerous blood clots in connection with the shot.
The German Health Ministry said the decision was taken as a “precaution” and on the advice of Germany’s national vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, which called for further investigation of the cases.
The Greek National Committee of Vaccinations, which is responsible for making the decision, addressed concerns over the side effects of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca product.
Responding to reports of “isolated thrombosis and embolism incidents” following inoculations with the vaccine, the committee cited the European Medicines Agency’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee, which said there is no evidence that these episodes are causally linked with inoculation.
Several incidents of thrombosis, or the formation of blood clots, have been reported in Austria and Denmark, and two deaths have occurred in patients there who had just received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Incidence of blood clots reflects normal rate of occurrence
However, the National Committee said that the incidence rate of such episodes is not greater than the expected occurrence in the public in general. The members stated that the same pattern holds true in the United Kingdom as well, after over 11 million individuals there have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Committee members added that they are working with the Greek Pharmaceutical Organization to continuously monitor the safety of vaccines, following and reviewing any instances of possible side effects of Covid-19 vaccines.
The nation of Denmark suspended its AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccination campaign last Thursday after reports of blood clots surfaced in those who had received the inoculation.
Denmark, Austria, Italy, Norway, Iceland, Latvia, Ireland place pause on AstraZeneca
On Monday, the Netherlands and Ireland also temporarily paused the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine after reports of abnormal blood clotting. So far, over 117,000 individuals have received the AstraZeneca product in Ireland, including thousands of health care workers.
The Dutch government said on Sunday evening that the vaccine would not be utilized until at least March 28 while studies are being conducted.
These latest moves come after countries including Italy, Norway, Iceland and Latvia also suspended, delayed or limited the rollout of the AstraZeneca inoculation.
The vaccine, produced by Oxford University and the UK/Sweden-based AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals firm, is being used widely throughout Europe but has not yet been cleared for emergency authorization in the United States.
Denmark announced that it would “temporarily” suspend the AstraZeneca campaign “after reports of severe cases of blood clots in people who have been vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca.
Severe cases of blood clots, several possible deaths linked to AstraZeneca vaccine last week
“It is important to emphasize that we have not opted out of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but that we are putting it on hold,” the country’s National Board of Health state in its remarks to the press.
The AstraZeneca-University of Oxford product is one of the heavy hitters in both the U.K. and European Union’s immunization programs.
The Danish Health Authority announced “Against this background, the European Medicines Agency has launched an investigation into the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“One report relates to a death in Denmark. At present, it cannot be concluded whether there is a link between the vaccine and the blood clots,” the Ministry stated.
EMA launches investigation into AstraZeneca vaccine
The announcement did not specify exactly how many reports of blood clots it had received or where in the body they had occurred.
During the week prior, the nation of Austria began investigating the death of one person and the illness of another after they had both received doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
As of Thursday morning, the AstraZeneca company’s shares on the London market had declined 2.4%. The University of Oxford, where the majority of the research for the vaccine took place last year, had no comment on the announcement when they were contacted by the American news network CNBC.
On its part, AstraZeneca said that it was aware of the statement made by the Danish Health Authority, adding: “Patient safety is the highest priority for AstraZeneca.
“Safety of vaccine has been extensively studied”
“Regulators have clear and stringent efficacy and safety standards for the approval of any new medicine, and that includes COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. The safety of the vaccine has been extensively studied in Phase III clinical trials and Peer-reviewed data confirms the vaccine is generally well tolerated.”
Søren Brostrøm, Denmarks’ National Board of Health director, maintained that the two-week-long suspension of AstraZeneca inoculations was a precautionary measure while the necessary investigations are ongoing.
“It is important to emphasize that we have not opted out of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but that we are putting it on hold,” he remarked to the press.
“There is good evidence that the vaccine is both safe and effective. But both we and the Danish Medicines Agency have to react to reports of possible serious side effects, both from Denmark and other European countries,” he added.
Multiple thrombosis, pulmonary embolism
The Austrian health authorities suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s batch #ABV5300 after one person was diagnosed with multiple thrombosis (the formation of blood clots within blood vessels) and died ten days after they had received the inoculation.
Another individual in Austria was hospitalized after suffering from a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lung) after also being vaccinated.