AstraZeneca vaccine halted as precaution

Photo Credit: Pixabay, MasterTux

The Netherlands has decided to stop inoculating people with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine until at least 28 March.

This is a precaution after ten reports of people developing thrombosis after getting this jab. Medicines authority, CBG, recommended this temporary halt. Minister of Health, Hugo De Jonge, is heeding that advice.

That means appointments already made for vaccinations with the AstraZeneca vaccine have been cancelled. The Dutch Health Department’s (GGD) Regional Medical Assistance Organisation (GHOR Nederland) says 43,000 appointments have to be cancelled. More than 40,000 people were meant to get this immunisation at their local health department in the next two weeks.


But, according to the Dutch government’s Corona Dashboard, that figure is close to 289,000. It shows that on 28 March, 639,075 people in the Netherlands would have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca. That number now stands at 350,284.

This difference in numbers comes because GPs are also administering this vaccination. They’ll be informed as soon as possible of this precautionary decision. They’ll then contact their patients themselves to cancel any vaccination appointments.

That’s according to a National Association of General Practitioners (LHV) spokesperson. They, however, agree with the Cabinet’s decision. “It’s good to have a two-week break. GPs receive questions from their patients and want to have a clear answer,” the spokesperson says.

New developments

Six new reports of possible side effects were received from Denmark and Norway over the weekend, the Ministry reports. These two countries and several others have stopped using this vaccination. The Swedish-British pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca also sent another safety report to the (CBG) and the Dutch National Public Health and Environmental Department (RIVM) on Sunday evening.

Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot within a blood vessel. It prevents blood from flowing normally through the circulatory system. Image credit: Narupon Promvichai/Pixabay

In the Netherlands, adverse reaction centre Lareb had received ten reports concerning the AstraZeneca vaccine. ‘Thrombosis or embolism may have played a role’ in these reactions. However, Lareb hasn’t yet received any reports of serious, rare symptoms. These are of clot formation (thrombosis) combined with a lowered blood platelet count (thrombocytopenia) in adults under the age of 50.

According to various sources, an Austrian 49-year-old woman had died. That was as a result of severe coagulation disorder after having the shot. A 35-year-old had also developed blood clots in his lungs but was recovering.

Both had received vaccines from the same batch, the authorities said. Danish authorities said earlier that week that one person who had clots after receiving the vaccine had died.

No evidence of increased risk

However, just today, AstraZeneca announced there’s no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots in people vaccinated with their vaccine. They said this after studying data from over 17 million vaccinated people. These are in the European Union and the United Kingdom.

UK experts agree. They say the number of vaccinated people presenting with blood clots wasn’t higher than in the general population. The European medicines agency (EMA) also said earlier that it had no evidence of a link between AstraZeneca’s vaccine and thrombosis cases.

On Thursday, they released a press statement saying, “There’s currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions. They aren’t listed as side effects with this vaccine either. The EMA’s safety committee, PRAC’s, position is that the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks.”

“The vaccine can continue to be administered. That’s while investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing.”

Sources: OmroepBrabant and NOS

Translator: Melinda Walraven

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