Major European nations suspend use of AstraZeneca vaccine due to blood clot concerns

Virus Outbreak AstraZeneca
Posted at 12:02 PM, Mar 15, 2021

BERLIN (AP) — Germany, France and Italy on Monday became the latest countries to suspend use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine over reports of dangerous blood clots in some recipients.

AstraZeneca said there have been 37 reports of blood clots out of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the 27-country European Union and Britain, but the company and European regulators have said there is no evidence the shot is to blame.

In fact, the drugmaker said the incidence of clots is much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar to that of other licensed COVID-19 vaccines.

Germany’s health minister said the decision was taken on the advice of the country’s vaccine authority, which called for further investigation into seven reported cases of clots in the brains of people who had been vaccinated.

French President Emmanuel Macron said his country would likewise take the precautionary step of suspending the vaccine’s use.

Macron told a news conference that French authorities have decided to suspend shots at least until Tuesday afternoon.

The EU drug regulatory agency’s safety committee has called a meeting for Thursday to review findings on the AstraZeneca vaccine and decide whether action needs to be taken.