Astrazeneca has defended its Covid-19 vaccine after reports of side effects. No increased risk of blood clots is seen in connection with the vaccine. An analysis of all safety data from more than 17 million people who were vaccinated with the drug in the EU and the UK showed no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or a drop in blood platelets, Astrazeneca said on Sunday evening.
Following reports of complications from blood clots after vaccination, the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland have temporarily suspended the use of the vaccine. Italy and Austria stopped using certain batches.
The Netherlands spoke of a “precautionary measure” on Sunday. “We cannot leave any doubts about the vaccine,” said Health Minister Hugo de Jonge. There were no incidents in the Netherlands and there was no evidence of a link between the vaccination and reports of possible serious side effects from Denmark and Norway. “We have to make sure that everything is in order, so it is advisable to take a break first.”
In Austria, a 49-year-old nurse from the Zwettl State Hospital died as a result of severe coagulation disorders, a 35-year-old colleague developed a pulmonary embolism, but was recently on the mend. In these two cases in Lower Austria, the women concerned had previously received vaccinations from the same batch of the Astrazeneca vaccine.
A spokesman for the German Ministry of Health said Germany would continue to use the Astrazeneca vaccine. You take the reports seriously and constantly check the data situation. At the moment, however, the line of the federal government remains to use the vaccine.
Great Britain also continues to use Astrazeneca’s corona vaccine. “We are scrutinizing the reports, but given the large number of doses given and the frequency with which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause,” said Phil Bryan of the UK regulator for pharmaceuticals (MHRA) according to a communication.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said last week that there was no evidence that the cases of blood clots were caused by the vaccination with Astrazeneca – an assessment that the World Health Organization (WHO) and the German Paul Ehrlich Institute followed. Astrazeneca said 15 cases of deep vein thrombosis and 22 cases of pulmonary embolism have been reported so far, which is comparable to other approved Covid-19 vaccines.
“Overall, based on the current state of knowledge, it can be assumed that there is a high probability that there is no causal connection between the vaccination and the few thromboembolic events – instead of a causality, a coincidence should be assumed, i.e. more chance than cause,” explained Clemens Wendtner, chief physician in infectious diseases and tropical medicine at the Munich Clinic Schwabing. It is now “regrettably another supposedly negative news in the world that damages the image of the vaccine and the vaccination campaign as a whole.”