Topline Denmark and Norway have temporarily suspended the rollout of the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine following reports of blood clots among a small number of recipients, including one death in Denmark, marking the latest glitch in the sluggish rollout of vaccines in Europe.
According to Reuters, one person in Denmark who was given the shot formed a blood clot and died, however, Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said that it was too early to conclude if the death was caused by the vaccine.
Denmark’s rollout has been suspended for 14 days, while the length of Norway’s suspension is presently unclear.
Earlier this week, Austria stopped using a batch of AstraZeneca shots while investigating the death of a 49 year-old woman who died from blood clots 10 days after being administered the vaccine, while four other countries also suspended inoculation from the batch:Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Latvia.
While the European Medicines Agency has yet to make a comment on Denmark’s actions, on Wednesday it said that a preliminary probe showed that there was no indication that the vaccine caused the Austria incident.
It is unclear if Denmark and Norway’s doses came from the same batch as Austria but according to Reuters, the batch of 1 million doses has been distributed to 17 EU countries.
22. That’s the total number of people who had reported similar blood clot like conditions among three million people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine in the European Economic Area, the EMA announced on Wednesday. It’s unclear if that number included the Danish cases.
While trials have shown the AstraZeneca vaccine to be safe, well tolerated and effective in preventing disease, the shot has had to tackle its share of bad press. First there was confusion about the use of two separate dosing regimens in its large scale phase three trials. Europe regulators also initially held off on authorizing the vaccine for people older than 65 due to a lack of adequate testing data on the cohort. Though this decision was later reversed, the flip flop and bad press has dented public confidence in the shot which has forced German authorities to plead with people to take the vaccine. On Monday, South Korean health officials reported that there was no causal link between the vaccine and a number of reported deaths in the country that occured after the individuals were inoculated.