Denmark and Austria have temporary stopped usage of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca after several cases of blood clots among vaccinated people.

The ban comes just days after Kenya received over 1 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as part of 24 million doses the country expects to receive within months.

The Ministry of Health has already started to give jab to the first beneficiaries of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, among them frontline workers such as health care professionals, teachers and security personnel.  

On Wednesday, the European Medicines Agency said they had launched an investigation into the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab in Europe.

The Danish Health and Medicines Authority has suspended the use of the vaccine in Denmark for at least 14 days while investigations are carried out. They did not say how many reports of blood clots there had been.

Søren Brostrøm, director of the National Board of Health said: “We are in the middle of the largest and most important vaccination rollout in Danish history.

“And right now we need all the vaccines we can get. Therefore, putting one of the vaccines on pause is not an easy decision.

“It is important to emphasize that we have not opted out of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but that we are putting it on hold.

“There is good evidence that the vaccine is both safe and effective.”

It comes as Austrian authorities said they were halting the use of a batch of the vaccine after two people also developed clots.

The first person developed multiple thrombosis (formation of blood clots within blood vessels) and died 10 days after vaccination, while another was hospitalised with pulmonary embolism (blockage in arteries in the lungs) but is now recovering. Two further cases linked to the batch were also reported.

The affected batch of one million doses was delivered to 17 EU countries, the Austrian national competent authority said.

As of 9 March, 22 cases of thromboembolic events had been reported among the three million people vaccinated with vaccine in the European Economic Area, the body added.

The AstraZeneca rollout in the EU has been bumpy due to shortages, delays and concerns from some states over its use in over 65s.

The vaccine was approved for all adults by the EU’s drugs regulator but it is up to each member to set out its own policy, with many initially saying an early trial did not have enough data on the effectiveness on over 65s.

Four other European countries — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxemburg — have also suspended the use of vaccines from this batch, which was sent to 17 European countries and consisting of one million jabs.


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