Countries Piling In To Suspend AstraZeneca Vaccine Over Blood-Clotting Concerns

Ireland is the latest country to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine temporarily. What Happened: Many European countries now have suspended the use of AstraZeneca Plc (NASDAQ: AZN) COVID-19 vaccines after reports of blood clotting problems.

Ireland on Sunday suspended using the vaccine as a precautionary measure following further reports of blood clots in people who have received it. Authorities in Norway also reported bleeding under the skin and an “unexpected death from a brain hemorrhage” after patients received the shot. The list of other countries to suspend the vaccine now includes Denmark, Iceland, Austria, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia and Thailand.

In February, South Africa stopped inoculations using AstraZeneca’s shot after a small study suggested that AstraZeneca’s jab has limited protection against the mild disease caused by the variant. AstraZeneca has defended its vaccine. In a statement it said, “There was no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots, An analysis of our safety data of more than 10 million records has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.”

On Friday, the World Health Organization said that it is reviewing reports of blood clots in some people who received the vaccine. According to WHO’s chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, “it remains unclear if the vaccine is causing the blood clots.” Europe’s medicines regulator has also said that there is no issue with the vaccine. Why It Matters: This comes as AstraZeneca is experiencing supply problems. The company said it will delay further deliveries of the vaccine due to a shortfall in production and export restrictions. However, the company aims to deliver 100 million doses in the first half of 2021, of which 30 million are due to be delivered in the first quarter.

AstraZeneca in a recent statement said, “Half of the EU’s supply in the second quarter and 10 million doses in the first quarter were due to be sourced from the company’s international supply chain. Unfortunately, export restrictions will reduce deliveries in the first quarter and are likely to affect deliveries in the second quarter.”

The European Commission authorized the AstraZeneca vaccine in January, and the company started delivering the vaccine to EU countries in February.


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