Germany Suspends Use Of AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine Amid Concerns Over Blood Clots
Germany has become the latest country to pause the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19 (Alamy)
Germany has become the latest European nation to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine amid concerns it may be linked to blood clots.
The country's health ministry said the measure was a “precaution" while they investigate the reports, but both the manufacturer, developer and regulator continue to say the jab is safe.
In a statement the German government said after “new reports of thromboses of the cerebral veins in connection with the vaccination” the Paul Ehrlich Institute, the country’s vaccine authority, “considers further investigations to be necessary”.
It comes after Denmark temporarily paused its rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine after someone who received it later died of a blood clot.
That followed the decision of several other countries, including Norway and Iceland, to stop using the jab following reports of severe side effects.
Italian medics also announced they were were halting the use of one batch of the vaccine after becoming aware of "some serious adverse effects," but stated the move was also precautionary and that no link had been made with the jab.
Austria, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Latvia have also suspended the use of a batch of one million doses sent to 17 European countries following reports that a 49-year-old Austrian women had died of "severe blood coagulation problems" in the days after receiving her jab.
But Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford vaccine group who developed the AstraZeneca version, said there is "very reassuring evidence that there is no increase in a blood clot phenomenon here in the UK, where most of the doses in Europe been given so far”.
The Anglo-Swedish firm says data from the 17 million doses administered so far provided no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or low levels of platelets, and said there is no cause for concern.Both the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organisation have also said there is no data to suggest the vaccine caused the clots, and urged people to continue to be immunised.
Boris Johnson was asked about the news that Ireland and the Netherlands had paused their rollout, and pressed directly if he could tell the public the vaccine is safe he said: "Yes, I can.
“In the MHRA we have one of the toughest and most experienced regulators in the world.
"They see no reason at all to discontinue the vaccination programme... for either of the vaccines that we're currently using.
"They believe that they are highly effective in driving down not just hospitalisation but also serious disease and mortality.
"We continue to be very confident about the programme and it's great to see it being rolled out at such speed across the UK."
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe