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Netherlands temporarily suspends AstraZeneca Covid vaccine

The Medicines Evaluation Board has advised people to seek immediate medical attention if a vaccine beneficiary develops symptoms three days after receiving a jab.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 5, 2021 1:17:14 pm
A medical worker prepares a dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine. (REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo)

The Netherlands has halted the administration of AstraZeneca vaccine to people of all age groups till April 7 amid reports of a few beneficiaries developing blood clots after inoculation, according to Aljazeera. In an official statement on April 2, the Netherlands Health Minister wrote to the House of Representatives that he is suspending the vaccination pending a further assessment by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). A report by EMA is awaited sometime next week.

In response, AstraZeneca released a statement this afternoon saying it was working with Duth authorities. “Authorities in the UK, European Union, the World Health Organization have concluded that the benefits of using our vaccine to protect people from this virus significantly outweigh the risks across all adult age groups,” it said.

Currently, there are five known cases, all of them women under 60, who developed blood clots. One of them even died and another suffered a brain haemorrhage. The side effects surfaced 7-10 days after receiving the AstraZeneca dose.

The Medicines Evaluation Board has advised people to seek immediate medical attention if a vaccine beneficiary develops symptoms three days after receiving a jab.

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Two weeks ago the EMA had determined that the AstraZeneca vaccine was “safe and effective”, but added it could not definitively rule out the possibility of increased risk of blood clots as a side effect.

Euronews reported that several countries including Italy, Austria and the Balitc region resumed the vaccine rollout across all age groups after temporarily halting the drive. France has restricted its use to people 55 and above, while Sweden and Finland for those 65 and above. In Spain, vaccinations were reserved for people between 55-65, but now have been extended to include essential workers who are 65 and above. The vaccination drive continues to remain suspended in Norway and Denmark.

In the UK, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency had identified 30 cases of blood clots in people who received the vaccination. However, they stressed that the benefits outweigh the low risks. An estimated 18 million doses of AstraZeneca have been administered in the UK.

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