The Dutch government, which had pre-ordered 12 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine , said that as a precaution the vaccine will not be used until 29 March. The authorities had scheduled about 290,000 AstraZeneca vaccinations over the next two weeks.
With this, the Netherlands has joined several other nations, including France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Bulgaria and Iceland and Thailand, who have suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine over blood clot concerns. While Ireland said earlier in the day that it had temporarily suspended the shot as a precautionary step.
On Monday, the German government also said it was suspending its use, with the vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, calling for further investigations. The Italian medicines authority made a similar announcement on Monday afternoon and French President Emmanuel Macron also said the vaccine’s use would be paused pending a verdict from the EU’s regulator. Spain Health Minister Carolina Darias said Monday that the country will halt use of the shot for at least two weeks, Reuters reported.
The World Health Organization has sought to downplay ongoing safety concerns, saying last week that there is no link between the shot and an increased risk of developing blood clots. The United Nations health agency has urged nations to continue using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Despite this, a number of European countries have already paused the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. It has added to the woes of the region’s ailing vaccination campaign at a time when Germany’s public health agency has warned that a third wave of coronavirus infections has already begun.