Yet declared “safe and effective” by the European regulator and the WHO, the AstraZeneca vaccine against the coronavirus has been suspended by Denmark for three additional weeks, Danish health authorities announced on Thursday.
“We have today decided to extend our suspension to three weeks,” National Health Agency director Søren Brostrøm told a press conference, explaining that we needed “more time” to exclude entirely a link between the few known cases of rare but serious blood clots and vaccination with AstraZeneca vaccine, which, however, has not been demonstrated.
Almost 5.8 million Danes fully vaccinated
The first country in Europe to completely suspend use of the vaccine after reports describing exceptional cases of blood clots, combined with low platelet counts and bleeding, Denmark has taken note of the favorable opinion of the EMA ( the European Medicines Agency) on the vaccine. According to the Danish authorities, the European regulator “does not exclude” a link, which leads it to continue its investigation, in the name of the precautionary principle.
“We still don’t know if certain groups are more at risk (…) we will also see the importance of the risk: is it acceptable and can we justify it,” said Søren Brorstøm. In Denmark, 5.7% of the 5.8 million inhabitants are fully vaccinated. 11.1% received a first dose. The majority of European countries which had suspended the use of the vaccine resumed it after the opinion of the EMA. In Sweden and Norway, where the vaccine from the Swedish-British laboratory is still suspended, a decision is expected soon.