COVID-19 Vaccine: Netherlands stays use of AstraZeneca for people under 60s

Decision was taken due to possible blood clotting problems as a side effect of the vaccine.

Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport of Netherlands has temporarily halted the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for people under the age of 60. The decision on Friday was prompted by possible blood clotting problems as a side effect of the vaccine, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Lareb side effects centre published report on Friday that after injecting some 400,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, five reports have been received concerning women aged 25-65 who developed thrombosis in combination with a reduced platelet count. One of these five women died after developing an extensive pulmonary embolism within 10 days of the vaccination.

Netherlands Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said there should be no doubt whatsoever about the safety of vaccines. “The crucial question is still whether it concerns complaints after vaccination or due to vaccination,” he said in a statement, adding that “it is wise to press the pause button now as a precaution”.

The European Medicines Agency said “the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks, but it could not rule out a link between the shot and some unusual kinds of clots, and recommended adding a warning about possible rare side effects.” Most European Union countries, including Germany, resumed using the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 19.

Eight countries have so far fully suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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