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Here is why some countries suspended use of AstraZeneca vaccine!

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: Following the rising concern over blood clot events, British-Swedish pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca on Monday issued a statement, citing a review report of 17 million people who were administered its Covid-19 vaccine, suggested that it was entirely safe for use.

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The statement came after a number of countries -Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Ireland and Iceland – suspended the use of the Covid shots developed by AstraZeneca after reports of a number of people developing blood clots after receiving the vaccine.

“A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union (EU) and UK with Covid-19 vaccine of AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country,” the company’s statement read.

Cause concern with regards to AstraZeneca vaccine

As per reports citing officials, there have been at least 15 events of deep vein thrombosis or blood clot in the veins and 22 events of pulmonary embolism or when blood clot enters the lungs reported among those who were administered the AstraZeneca vaccine across the European Union and Britain.

The countries- Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Ireland and Iceland – temporarily suspended the use of the vaccine after reports of cases of blood clots. While, Italy and Romania are also reported to have banned the use of a similar batch of the vaccine. Whereas, Austria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Luxembourg have all together suspended the same batch of vaccines which was suspended by Austria.

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Countries which are still administering AstraZeneca vaccine

Where several European countries have discontinued the use of AstraZeneca jabs, countries like France and Germany are still administering the controversial vaccine. The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there was no evidence that the vaccine had caused problems. “Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon. More than 11 million doses of the Covid-19 AstraZeneca vaccine have now been administered across the UK,” the agency said.

Will suspension affect the vaccination programme in these countries

The call to temporarily suspend the use of AstraZeneca vaccine comes as a setback to the European vaccination programme. However, the gaps in the vaccination programme could be filled as the single-shot Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine has also been approved in the EU.

Meanwehile, India is administering two indigenously developed COVID Vaccine – Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for its mass vaccination programme. Earlier, the Centre had granted emergency use approval to both the vaccine.

So far, India has been using Covishield, prepared by Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, in collaboration with AstraZeneca to produce 1 billion doses, has cumulatively administered over 2.82 crore doses.

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