The Speaker
Friday, 24 May 2024 – 23:24

Countries temporarily suspend use of AstraZeneca vaccines as precaution

There are more challenges regarding the Oxford/AstraZeneca Coronavirus vaccine after health authorities said Ireland should temporarily stop its use of the jab.

Heath authorities in Ireland have recommended that the use of the AstraZeneca jab be temporarily suspended in the country from this morning after international concerns about reports of people developing blood clots after taking the jab.

On Saturday, the Norwegian Medicines Agency said they had received “three more reports of severe cases of blood clots or brain haemorrhages in younger people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.” It added, “It has not been concluded that there is any link between the vaccine and these cases, but due to the seriousness, these cases are being thoroughly investigated.”

As yet, there is no confirmed evidence that the vaccine has caused the blood clots, though a number of countries have suspended the jabs use as a precaution. The temporary suspension of vaccine rollouts to investigate potential adverse side effects is not uncommon and has been a feature of many vaccine rollouts in the past.

Denmark, Iceland and Norway have all temporarily suspended the use of all AstraZeneca vaccinations while the matter is investigated. Meanwhile, Italy, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, Austria and Lithuania have also banned does of the vaccine from one particular batch of one million vaccines after reports of a death. Earlier this week, Thailand became the first Asian country to halt the rollout of the vaccination.

In the UK, the rollout of AstraZeneca vaccines is continuing, alongside the rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

While the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has provided protection against the virus for millions over recent months, there have been multiple challenges in its rollout. A number of countries questioned the efficacy of the vaccine, originally indicating that they would only approve it for use among people under 65 years old, before making a u-turn. A row over the distribution of vaccines from AstraZeneca has also hit the headlines multiple times recently, with countries in the EU unhappy about the quantities of the vaccine being sent to them.

AstraZeneca signed a deal with the European Union to provide doses of the vaccine, however, production issues have meant that supply levels of the vaccine to the EU have been lower than anticipated. 

In the UK, around 40% of the adult population has received at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, though in the European Union, this number is around 9%.

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