Sweden pauses use of AstraZeneca vaccine over blood clot reports
Sweden became the latest European country to pause use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine amid reports of dangerous blood clots in some recipients.
The company and international regulators continue to say the vaccine is safe, however, and many countries elsewhere in the world are forging ahead with their vaccination campaigns.
The move by the Swedish Public Health Agency is pending an investigation by the European Medicines Agency.
“The decision is a precautionary measure,” Swedish chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said in a statement.
Also on Tuesday, the German government said it will postpone a virtual summit on the country’s vaccination efforts until after the EMA meeting, scheduled for Thursday.
Germany, France, the Republic of Ireland, Italy and Spain were among countries that suspended use of the vaccine on Monday.
The German government and the country’s 16 state governors had planned to meet Wednesday for a virtual summit on the country’s slow vaccination campaign and on ways to speed it up.
AstraZeneca’s formula is one of three vaccines in use on the European continent.
But the escalating concern is another setback for the European Union’s vaccination drive, which has been plagued by shortages and other hurdles and is lagging well behind the campaigns in Britain and the US.
The EU’s drug regulatory agency will review experts’ findings on the AstraZeneca shot and decide whether action needs to be taken.
Much of Asia has shrugged off concerns about the AstraZeneca jab, with Thailand’s prime minister receiving a jab at the start of the country’s use of the vaccine on Tuesday.
“There are people who have concerns,” Prayuth Chan-ocha said after his vaccination.
“But we must believe doctors, believe in our medical professionals.”