Denmark has suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine after some people who received the jab later developed blood clots. The country’s health agency said there is no evidence at this time that the vaccine is behind the clots, but is suspending the use of it as a precaution as it investigates the matter further.
“At present, it cannot be concluded whether there is a link between the vaccine and the blood clots,” Denmark’s Health Authority said in a statement, noting that its decision to suspend the use of the jab was “based on a precautionary principle” and that one person who developed a blood clot after vaccination had died.
In a release provided to Fox News, the European Medicines Agency said that it was aware the country was pausing the use of the jab, but noted that it can still be administered as the investigation into the blood clots continues.
“There is currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions, which are not listed as side effects with this vaccine,” the regulator said. “The position of EMA’s safety committee PRAC is that the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks and the vaccine can continue to be administered while investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing.”
The EMA in its release also noted that the number of thromboembolic events in vaccinated people “is no higher than the number seen in the general population.”
“As of 10 March 2021, 30 cases of thromboembolic events had been reported among close to 5 million people vaccinated with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in the European Economic Area,” it said.
Some experts have also pointed out that of the millions of AstraZeneca vaccine shots administered elsewhere, including in Britain, there have been no reported cases of the vaccine causing blood clots or related problems. Others have noted that pausing vaccinations at a time when the world is still grappling to control the novel coronavirus is risky, as stopping vaccinations could put some more at risk for contracting and potentially dying of COVID-19.
Britain’s medicines regulator reacted by noting there was no confirmation that the reported blood clot was caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so,” it said.
Still, after the Danish announcement, Norway decided to follow suit and temporarily suspend the Anglo-Swedish company’s vaccine, which was developed by the University of Oxford, also saying that there are no proven links. In addition, Italy’s pharmaceutical agency on Thursday ordered a precautionary ban on a particular batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine after what it said were “serious adverse events.”
On Wednesday, the EMA said Austria had suspended the use of a batch of COVID-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca after a person had been diagnosed with multiple blood clots died 10 days after vaccination, and another was hospitalized with blockage in arteries in the lungs after being vaccinated. The latter is now recovering.
Two other reports of similar problems had been received for this batch as of March 9, the EMA said, though there is no indication that the problems were caused by the vaccine.
The EMA said the 1 million-dose batch in question was delivered to 17 EU countries.
Germany’s Paul Ehrlich Institute, which oversees vaccine matters, said it was in contact with Danish authorities and the EMA on the issue but that no doses from the batch used in Austria were on the German market.
Denmark’s suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine will last for at least two weeks, the agency said, adding it hinged on an evaluation by the EU medical regulator.
A spokesperson for AstraZeneca did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.