Many Countries Suspend AstraZeneca Coronavirus Vaccine Over Health Concerns

Bulgaria and Thailand are the latest countries to pause the use of the vaccine while investigations into adverse side effects take place. Denmark has temporarily suspended the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine as a precautionary move after reports of blood clots and one death. However, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the UK’s regulatory body have said that there is no indication that vaccination is linked to thromboembolic events.

TWO MORE COUNTRIES HAVE temporarily suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine over reports of people getting blood clots after receiving a dose.

Bulgaria and Thailand join a growing list of countries that are pausing the vaccine’s rollout over health concerns, including Denmark Iceland, and Norway.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha canceled plans to publicly receive the vaccine and Thai officials have delayed the vaccine rollout while they consider the issue of any potential link between the vaccine and adverse outcomes, Dr. Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, a senior member of Thailand’s vaccine committee, said in a news conference on Friday.

Officials say they will wait for the results of investigations in Denmark, which paused the vaccine’s use for two weeks and by health organizations in Europe before making any further decisions.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has asked the European Medicines Agency to dismiss doubts about the vaccine’s safety before resuming vaccinations in the country.

On 10 March the EMA said that Austria had suspended the use of a batch of AstraZeneca vaccines after one person had multiple thromboses diagnosed and died 10 days after vaccination. Another person was admitted to the hospital with pulmonary embolism after being vaccinated and is now recovering. The EMA said that two other reports of thromboembolic event cases had also been received from that batch, which was delivered to 17 EU countries and comprised a million doses.

The suspension of the supply is seen as a precautionary measure, as a direct link between the symptoms and the vaccine remains unconfirmed, and the development of blood clots among those vaccinated has been extremely rare.

The problem with spontaneous reports of suspected adverse reactions to a vaccine are the enormous difficulty of distinguishing a causal effect from a coincidence,” he said, adding that COVID-19 was strongly associated with blood clotting.

The province says it expects to get more shipments of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine over the next few months.

More than 400 clinics and pharmacies — possibly more than 500 — are expected to be eligible to bring in vaccine shipments down the road.

And if or when Health Canada approves more COVID-19 vaccines that can be kept in a fridge (instead of a specialized freezer with ultra-low temperatures), that will help speed up the vaccine rollout too, the province says.