Covid-19 Useful Information

Countries pause their use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine

The UK has given out more than 11 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

An increasing number of countries including Ireland, France, Germany, Norway, Italy, Iceland, Indonesia, The Netherlands, Denmark, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Austria have temporarily suspended their use of the AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccination.

Last week authorities in Austria suspended one batch of doses. Italy banned the use of vaccines from a specific batch of AstraZeneca doses following the death of a serviceman in Sicily, who had died of cardiac arrest one day after receiving his first dose of the vaccine. link

The Norwegian Medicines Agency on Saturday said there were four new cases of serious blood clotting in adults after taking the vaccine. link

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency issued a statement on Sunday night stating the UK’s position was that people should still go ahead and get the vaccine.

Ireland’s Immunologist Professor Luke O’Neill expressed his disappointment that countries have taken the decision to suspend their use of the vaccine. Interviewed on Newstalk link, Professor O’Neill said that Ireland’s National Immunisation Advisory Committee’s decision means that; “They are not trusting the science, 17 million people have had this vaccine and there is no evidence of any kind that it is causing blood clots. Even worse, we know the virus itself causes blood clots – there is a high risk of that – so they are putting 30,000 people at risk now who aren’t getting vaccinated this week. The nature of the pandemic has led to increased attention in individual cases and we are going beyond the standard practices for safety monitoring of licensed medicines in reporting vaccine events, to ensure public safety”. 

The European Medicines Agency and other regulators are investigating whether there is evidence of any link between the vaccine and blood clots.

AstraZeneca defended its product on Sunday, saying that the company is continually monitoring its safety. Ann Taylor, AstraZeneca’s Chief Medical Officer “Around 17 million people in the E.U. and U.K. have now received our vaccine, and the number of cases of blood clots reported in this group is lower than the hundreds of cases that would be expected among the general population.”

The decision to suspend the AstraZeneca’s vaccine is of particular concern to people who await their second dose of the vaccine. It takes three weeks after getting the first dose for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to start to work. The second dose is due twelve weeks after the first dose. It take approximately fifteen days for the second dose to give increased protection. Link

 Today the World Health Organization (WHO) appealed to countries not to pause vaccination campaigns countries have suspended their use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine over safety fears. link. “As of today, there is no evidence that the incidents are caused by the vaccine and it is important that vaccination campaigns continue so that we can save lives and stem severe disease from the virus,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said.