The suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine by several European countries comes at a dangerous moment: just as a third wave of viruses is crossing the continent and the explosion of the vaccine is deteriorating.
After reports surfaced that a handful of people receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine had fatal brain haemorrhages and blood clots, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands first stopped using them. Then France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden followed suit on Monday and Tuesday.
Now officials and immunologists in Europe are worried that the suspension of one of the continent’s most common vaccinations will cost a lifetime in the race against dangerous, rapidly spreading variants. They are also afraid that skeptics of vaccines may be encouraged.
The European Medicines Agency, the European Medicines Agency, said on Monday that it would continue to investigate a possible link between the AstraZeneca shots and blood clots or bleeding in the brain.
However, it said that the numbers of such problems reported in vaccines did not seem to be higher than what is usually seen in the general population. Germany, for example, reported seven cases of a “rare cerebral arthritis” out of 1.6 million people who received the vaccine there.
“We do not want people to panic,” Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the World Health Organization, told a news conference, adding that no link had been found between the coagulation disorders reported in some countries and vaccinations against Covid-19. not. A WHO advisory committee plans to meet on Tuesday to discuss the vaccine.
AstraZeneca says there was ‘no evidence’ of an increased risk of blood clots or bleeding among the more than 17 million people who received the shot in Britain and the European Union.
Britain, which approved the vaccine in late December, Administered 11 million doses. The country’s drug regulator has raised no concerns about blood clotting for the vaccine or the Pfizer shot. It says in his latest safety report that ‘the number and nature of the suspected side effects reported so far are not uncommon compared to other types of vaccines that are frequently used.’
Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, said “the decisions of France, Germany and other countries seem staggering.” He said the delay in vaccinations, and ‘the possibility of increased vaccinations against vaccines’, did not correspond to any new or conclusive data.
In Germany, where the increase in cases is driven by the more contagious variant first detected in Britain, a permanent suspension of AstraZeneca could delay the vaccination of the population by a month, according to the Central Institute of Registered Physicians .
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi warned on Friday that his country was facing a ‘new wave of contagion’ as cases increased rapidly and the variants spread there. Mr. Draghi has put an army general in charge of vaccinating and hopes to increase vaccine doses to 500,000 a day, up from 100,000.
At the behest of local prosecutors, Italian police seized some of the vaccines needed for the ride, investigating the death of a teacher who received the AstraZeneca vaccine. The cause of the teacher’s death is unknown.