COVID-19 Resource Center

COVID-19 Resource Center

Perspective from Amesh A. Adalja, MD
Source:

EMA. COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca: PRAC preliminary view suggests no specific issue with batch used in Austria. https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca-prac-preliminary-view-suggests-no-specific-issue-batch-used-austria. Accessed March 11, 2021.

Disclosures: Buckholm reports no relevant financial disclosures.
March 11, 2021
2 min read
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European countries halt AstraZeneca vaccine rollout

Perspective from Amesh A. Adalja, MD
Source:

EMA. COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca: PRAC preliminary view suggests no specific issue with batch used in Austria. https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca-prac-preliminary-view-suggests-no-specific-issue-batch-used-austria. Accessed March 11, 2021.

Disclosures: Buckholm reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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Several European countries, including Denmark and Norway, halted vaccinations with AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine over reports of blood clots in vaccinees.

In a statement, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said there is “currently no indication” that the AstraZeneca vaccine caused a fatal blood clot in a person in Austria, or a pulmonary embolism in another person in Austria who is recovering. These conditions “are not listed as side effects with this vaccine,” the EMA said.

COVID Vaccine
The European Medicines Agency said there is currently no evidence that the AstraZeneca vaccine caused a fatal blood clot in a Danish patient given the vaccine.
Credit: Adobe Stock

The EMA said it was investigating the batch from which the vaccine came, which was delivered to 17 countries in the European Union.

Danish and Norwegian health authorities said they will wait to determine if there is a link between the vaccine and clots. Both agencies cited a report of a death in a person in Denmark from a blood clot after receiving the vaccine as a reason for pausing the rollout.

“This pause does not mean that we advise against vaccination with AstraZeneca in the future,” Geir Bukholm, MD, director of the division of infection control and environmental health at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, said in a news release. “The AstraZeneca vaccine has good documentation, and having sufficient doses to ensure protection for as many people as possible in the risk groups as early as possible is also important. We are in a situation of increasing transmission where protection against COVID-19 disease is increasingly important.”

Danish Health Authority head Søren Brostrøm, MD, said the stoppage was a “clear indication” that the country’s vaccine monitoring system works.

“It is important to stress that we have are by no means discarding the AstraZeneca vaccine,” Brostrøm said in a statement. “We are merely stopping using it for the time being. There is strong evidence that the vaccine is both safe and efficacious. However, the Danish Health Authority and the Danish Medicines Agency have to react promptly to reports from Denmark and other European countries of possible severe side effects.”

References:

Danish Health Authority. Vaccination with the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca is put on hold until further notice. https://www.sst.dk/en/English/news/2021/Vaccination-with-the-COVID-19-vaccine-from-AstraZeneca-is-put-on-hold-until-further-notice. Accessed March 11, 2021.

EMA. COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca: PRAC preliminary view suggests no specific issue with batch used in Austria. https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca-prac-preliminary-view-suggests-no-specific-issue-batch-used-austria. Accessed March 11, 2021.

Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Vaccination with AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 put on hold. https://www.fhi.no/en/news/2021/vaksinasjon-med-astrazeneca-vaksinen-mot-covid-19-settes-pa-pause/. Accessed March 11, 2021.