The Netherlands suspends use of AstraZeneca vaccine for under-60s

Source BBC

Regulators said they had received no reports of such clotting events after the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Despite the cases, the MHRA has said the benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19 outweigh any risks and urged the public to continue coming forward for the jab. It added that "all vaccines and medicines have some side effects".

On Friday, the Dutch government also said it would be temporarily halting AstraZeneca jabs for people under 60, after it received five reports of blood clots with low blood plate counts following vaccinations.

It said it wasn't clear if the shots are causing the clots, and that its "rigorous review into the United Kingdom reports of rare and specific types of blood clots is ongoing".

Australia launched mass vaccinations for its 25 million people in February, with most expected to receive the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Health minister Hugo de Jonge has said every adult in the country who wants to be vaccinated will have had at least one dose by the beginning of July. "We must err on the side of caution".

The British acknowledgment of deaths comes as several European countries have paused the use of the AstraZeneca jab over a potential link to blood clots.

The clotting events that have drawn the most concern, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, entail clots in the veins that drain blood from the brain, a condition that can lead to a rare type of stroke.

Some countries have restricted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine while others have resumed inoculations, as investigations into reports of rare, and sometimes severe, blood clots continue. "This is a safe and effective vaccine", Emer Cooke, the EMA's executive director, told reporters last month.

No blood clots have been linked to the Pfizer jab.

Responding to the data, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said that taking up the vaccine was "by far the safest choice" at minimising risk of serious illness or death. He added that the MHRA's report equates to an average risk of less than one in 500,000.

"More research is urgently needed", he said.

The same lawyer is also representing the family of a French medical student who died days after he received AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine in the western city of Nantes.

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