Germany is “precautiously” halting vaccinations with the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to CNNs German affiliate n-tv.
“The decision today is purely a precautionary measure. It is a purely scientific and not a political decision. And that's why I'm following the recommendation of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, ” a statement by German Health Minister Jens Spahn said.
"In order to maintain confidence in the vaccine, we have to give our experts in Germany and the EU the time to review the latest incidents.We are pausing to check. The result of the check is open and that's why we are now counting on the EMA, ideally, coming to its decision and recommendation in the course of this week," he continued.
"The PEI (Paul-Ehrlich-Institute) advises that people who have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca & feel increasingly unwell more than 4 days after vaccination - e.g. with severe and persistent headaches or punctiform skin bleeding - should seek medical treatment immediately. It has happened very rarely. So far there have been 7 reported cases that may be related to such a cerebral vein thrombosis and that meanwhile over 1.6 million vaccinations in Germany."
Germany is now the seventh European country to suspend AstraZeneca's use despite advice from the European Union's medicines regulator that the benefits of the shot outweigh any potential risks.
Here's a look at the other EU countries that have suspended use:
- Denmark: On Thursday, March 11, Denmark suspended AstraZeneca vaccinations for 14 days as a “precautionary measure” as it investigates “signs of a possible serious side effect in the form of fatal blood clots” after one Danish person died following vaccination, according to Danish health officials.
- Norway: On Thursday, March 11, Norway chose to “pause” vaccinations following reports of the death in Denmark. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said similar cases had been reported in Norway, but “mainly in the elderly where there is often another underlying disease as well.”
- Iceland: On Thursday, March 11, Iceland suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. There have been no reports of patients developing blood clots in the country.
- Bulgaria: On Friday, March 12, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov ordered a halt to all AstraZeneca vaccinations until the EMA “rejects all doubts” about the vaccine's safety.
- Ireland: On Sunday, March 14, Ireland decided to temporarily suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to "maintain confidence" in its vaccine program, according to the Chairman of its National Immunization Advisory Committee.
- Netherlands: On Sunday, March 14, the Dutch government said it would pause AstraZeneca vaccinations for two weeks “as a precautionary measure and pending further investigation.”