Germany, France, and Italy suspended vaccinations against AstraZeneca Covid-19 after several countries reported possible serious side effects, plunging Europe’s already difficult vaccination campaign into disarray.
Denmark and Norway stopped injecting last week after they reported individual cases of low bleeding, blood clots, and lower plate counts. Iceland and Bulgaria followed the suit, with Ireland and the Netherlands announcing suspensions on Sunday. Followed by other countries, Spain will stop using the vaccine for at least 15 days as well.
Germany warned last week it was facing the third wave of infections, Italy is intensifying lockdowns, and hospitals in the Paris region are close to being overloaded. German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that although the risk of blood clots was low, it could not be ruled out.
“This is a professional decision, not a political one,” Spahn said adding he was following a recommendation of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, Germany’s vaccine regulator.
France also said it was suspending the vaccine’s use pending an assessment by the EU medicine regulator due on Tuesday. Italy said its halt was a “precautionary and temporary measure” pending the regulator’s ruling.