Denmark became the first country to stop using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine following recent reports of rare but serious side effects in a small number of people vaccinated.
This move will push the end of the Scandinavian country’s immunization program to early August from July 25.
It was made despite recommendations from the World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) – the European Union’s drug regulator – to continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Both agencies have repeatedly said the benefits of this shotgun outweigh any potential risks associated with its use after its use was associated with some severe cases of blood clotting. , some fatalities.
But the Danish Health Authority said in a statement Wednesday that the results of its own investigation showed a “real risk of serious side effects associated with COVID- vaccine use.” 19 from AstraZeneca ”.
The head of the agency, Soren Brostrom, said the poll found one out of every 40,000 people who received the shot had serious side effects.
“On the basis of a global review, we have chosen to continue the vaccination program for all populations that do not have this vaccine,” he added.
The availability of other vaccines associated with the pandemic being controlled in the Scandinavian country at the moment means that the vaccination campaign can continue without, according to the Danish Health Authority. need an injection of AstraZeneca.
AstraZeneca said it respects Denmark’s choice and will continue to provide them with data to make future decisions.
The Anglo-Swedish company said: “The implementation and implementation of the vaccine program is a matter for each country to decide based on local conditions.
To date, nearly one million of the 5.8 million Danes have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Nearly 4 out of 5 recipients received one dose of a vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech. The Scandinavian country also used vaccines developed by Moderna in its vaccination program.
EU member Denmark was the first country to initially suspend all AstraZeneca vaccine use due to safety concerns last month, after reporting rare but serious cases of blood clots The first time developed coagulation in some people appeared. More than a dozen countries followed suit.
All but a few have since continued to use the vaccine, developed by a company in partnership with the UK University of Oxford, following an EMA’s assessment that the vaccine is “safe. and efficiency ”.
The EU pharmaceutical watchdog said last week it found a probable link between AstraZeneca jab and cerebral sinus thrombosis (CVST), a blood clot in the brain, but said the risk of death. Death from COVID-19 is “much greater” than the risk of dying from rare side effects.
As of April 4, EMA had received reports of 169 cases of CVST after 34 million doses of Astrazeneca were used in the European Economic Area, it said.
However, the EU regulators let each country do their own risk assessment and decide how to administer vaccines.
Although many countries in Europe and others have continued to administer vaccination, some have restricted its use to certain age groups, usually those over the age of 50 or over 60. .
Johnson & Johnson delayed vaccination in Europe
In another strike on Europe’s faltering mass vaccination campaign, US-based pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) delayed the rollout of its own COVID-19 injection. across Europe following concerns about blood clotting risk in some vaccine recipients.
The EMA said they expect to make recommendations on the vaccine next week but they continue to believe that the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the risk of side effects.
The US federal health authorities recommend suspending the use of the vaccine for at least a few days after six women under 50 develop rare blood clots following the injection.
Deliveries have already started in a number of European countries but authorities have different approaches on whether to limit vaccine use, with Belgium and France saying they will continue while Hy Greece and Italy paused.
The EMA said J&J had contacted the national authorities and recommended to store the received dose until the safety committee made an urgent recommendation.
This delay will help allay concerns across Europe about the EU’s deployment of choke-up vaccines, which are already experiencing problems from poor coordination between national and regional authorities. difficulty in purchasing and a damaging contract with AstraZeneca.
In what appeared to be a stinging rebuke to the Anglo-Swedish company, the 27-member bloc on Wednesday announced plans to negotiate a major contract extension for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine- BioNTech emphasizes that it must go with companies that have shown their value in the pandemic.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We need to focus on technologies that have proven their worth.