Major European nations suspend use of AstraZeneca vaccine

A cascading number of European countries — including Germany, France, Italy and Spain — suspended use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday over reports of dangerous blood clots in some recipients, though the company and international regulators say there is no evidence the shot is to blame. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) say there is no indication of a link between the vaccine and reports of blood clots and it is important that vaccination campaigns should be continued.

About 17 million people in the EU and the UK have received a dose of the vaccine, with fewer than 40 cases of blood clots reported as of last week, AstraZeneca said. Experts say the number of blood clots reported after the vaccine were no more than those typically reported within the general population. The Dutch government said its suspension, which will last until at least 29 March, was a precaution. The Irish Republic, Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria and Iceland have paused inoculations with the vaccine, while the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia have delayed the start of their AstraZeneca rollouts.

Several European countries, including Italy and Austria, have suspended the use of certain batches of the drug as a precautionary measure. Thailand announced that it would start using the vaccine on Tuesday, following a brief delay to the rollout over safety concerns. The EMA – which is currently carrying out a review into incidents of blood clots – said the vaccine could continue to be administered.