Infectious Disease

More and more European countries are suspending the introduction of vaccines, confusing experts

March 16, 2021

2 min read

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Adalja does not report any relevant financial information.

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Several other European countries have stopped rolling out AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine after reports of blood clots in people who received it.

However, regulators and the manufacturer said there was no evidence that the vaccine caused these type of adverse events.

Adalja Pullquote

So far, Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, Norway, Italy, Spain and Sweden have stopped vaccinations for safety reasons, as reported by several news agencies.

Countries began to suspend use of the vaccine after two patients, one in Austria and one in Denmark, died after being given the vaccine. Another patient in Austria had a pulmonary embolism after vaccination and is currently recovering.

“I don’t think that the decision of these European countries is justified.” Amesh A. Adalja, MD, said Healio, senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Safety and a member of the editorial board of Infectious Disease News. “Just because something happens after a vaccine doesn’t mean it is caused by the vaccine.”

According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), there is currently “no evidence” that the vaccine causes blood clots.

“The number of thromboembolic events in vaccinated individuals is no higher than the number in the general population,” the EMA wrote in the statement.

AstraZeneca said it had evaluated safety data from more than 17 million people who were vaccinated with their vaccine in the European Union and the UK and found “no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia in any given age group , Gender, batch or in a specific country. “

Adalja noted that the decision to stop vaccination in Europe will have serious downstream consequences.

“This is particularly problematic as Europe faces an increase in cases in some countries and closes in some countries with a very flawed vaccine program,” Adalja said. “I’m also concerned that when it comes to resuming programs, they’ll undermine confidence in a very good vaccine.”

Based on a survey of 19 countries, researchers in Nature Medicine reported that “the current willingness to accept a COVID-19 vaccine is insufficient to meet the requirements for population immunity”.

References:

AstraZeneca. Update on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca. https://www.astrazeneca.com/media-centre/press-releases/2021/update-on-the-safety-of-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca.html. Accessed March 16, 2021.

EMA. COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca: PRAC investigates cases of thromboembolic events – the benefits of the vaccine currently outweigh the risks – update. https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca-prac-investigating-cases-thromboembolic-events-vaccines-benefits. Accessed March 16, 2021.

Jordans F. Associated Press. Major European nations are suspending use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. https://apnews.com/article/germany-suspends-astrazeneca-vaccine-blood-clotting-0ab2c4fe13370c96c873e896387eb92f. Accessed March 16, 2021.

Lazarus JV et al. Nat Med. 2020; doi: 10.1038 / s41591-020-1124-9.

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