Countries across Europe suspend use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine over blood clot fears

WSJ What's News


Has joined the list of names putting a pause on the astra. Zeneca covid nineteen vaccine. As we reported yesterday france. Germany and italy have temporarily stopped administering the vaccine after a small number of patients experienced blood. Clotting the astrazeneca vaccine hasn't been given emergency authorization in the us yet and it's one of four different vaccines that have been approved in the eu but the decision to suspend its use comes as much of the eu is seen an uptick in cases as more virulent strains of the virus outpace vaccinations. What will this mean. For the overall vaccination efforts in europe the journalist any strasbourg has been covering the vaccine. Roll out from the start and joins me jenny. Welcome thank you very much. Nice to be here jenny. We got the news yesterday. That spain france germany and italy are suspending. The astra zeneca vaccinations but they are not alone last week. Denmark pause the shots than norway ireland. The netherlands followed suit as someone who has been on the story early on. Is this collective movement surprise to you. Well so i think a lot of what's happening is the cautions building right so it we're not saying we're not seeing new cases reported as much as we're seeing countries saying look we're gonna wait for the european medicines regulator to essentially do their review. Were expecting the they're called the ama. We're expecting that agency to say something about it. It's been looking into these reports because it all started about a week ago with some reports out of austria and there was one batch that they stopped you that austria stopped using but they kept using the astrazeneca vaccine. It was really last thursday that denmark norway iceland stopped using the vaccine altogether. It's been building up since then but they're all kind of citing for the most part. I mean it's fast moving but they're all citing you know the same investigation that's happening the same review of safety. So you're seeing a bunch of new reports pile up just a lot of a lot of shared caution. We should mention. Astrazeneca has said the number of cases of blood clotting among people in the eu and uk who have received a shot is lower than for the general population. Jenny we had this big push to get as many shots in arms as possible as quickly as possible but there have been some hiccups in the eu. What does this all mean for the broader effort to accelerate the population. Yeah well i mean it's really bad timing. I mean europe has been sluggish in its vaccine. Rollouts ms we've chronicled in great detail in and then the same company astra zeneca is been under massive political fire for shortcomings than their deliveries. This quarter and next quarter or hundred million doses fewer than they projected. You know that was a huge huge thing late last week again. I mean it's not. It's not good but we also don't know how long all these countries are saying. This is a temporary cautionary measure. We want more information. We just wanna make sure we're not making a mistake. The uk has said keep vaccinating people with shy. We don't see evidence we've done eleven million plus doses of this vaccine. Were not seeing problems if we were we. Would we would say hunting. And even you know. There's an international association has devoted to thrombosis clotting issues and they're saying we don't think we think the cove nineteen with blood. Clotting is actually greater than the use of the vaccine but look if your a country in your people are asking questions is a safe you. You wanna be able to tell them. It is so some people are saying. Look the systems working like the risks are being assessed. And that's what we want. As part of your reporting you have talked to a lot of scientists and researchers during the pandemic any idea about. Just how big of a concern. There is about safety at this point. I mean look this. This vaccine has not raised red flags about severe safety concerns. It's been the large scale. Clinical trials have mainly thrown up results. Showing mild to moderate. You know side effects or reactions. Really they're not even so severe be called side. Effects like soreness in the arm stiffness chills about headache stuff. That goes away over a few days so this. This is all pretty new for this vaccine. The concerns about safety and at the same time though as every as regulators including the european medicines regulators pointing out they see more instances of severe blood clotting in the general population than have been reported in relation to post vaccination. So you know causality is difficult. It's a difficult question. Are people ill. And as millions of people get vaccinated. Some of them will will show problems. There have been a couple of there have been some deaths. Would they have happened anyway. You know causing showing link between the vaccine and the illnesses and the conditions can be very difficult especially out of clinical

Coming up next