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Denmark ends use of AstraZeneca vaccine for now citing clotting fears

Denmark is halting the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, Danish Health Administration head Soren Brostrom said on Wednesday.

This is as a result of taking the country’s policy a step beyond others that have only limited the drug’s use for certain age groups.

The vaccination campaign will continue without the shot from the British-Swedish company, Brostrom said at a news conference in Copenhagen on Wednesday.

Denmark had temporarily suspended vaccinations with the AstraZeneca shot on March 11, as a precautionary measure and had not resumed them, even to a limited extent as other countries have done.

The reason for the halt were isolated severe cases of blood clots  and even suspected deaths in people who had previously been vaccinated against COVID-19 with the AstraZeneca shot.

The fears those side effects raised along with the facts that Denmark’s government said it has the Coronavirus under control to a degree and that the country has other vaccine choices – prompted the decision.

Dropping AstraZeneca would mean that Denmark’s vaccination programme would now take a few weeks more than initially planned.

The fears raised by the relatively few number of blood clot deaths after an AstreZeneca jab have reverberated through the countries that had been relying upon the vaccine to help them get the spread of the Coronavirus under control.

Health agencies like the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization have stood by the AstraZeneca jab, arguing it remains safe.

That has led several other countries to reinstitute its use, albeit for limited age ranges.

Germany, for example, is only allowing the jab for those aged 60 or older.

About 150,000 people in Denmark have received the AstraZeneca jab. Of those, around 600 have received the recommended two doses for full effect.

Those still in need of a second jab will be given a different vaccine, authorities said.

They did not rule out that AstraZeneca jabs might be returned to use should the situation change.

Overall, about one million of Denmark’s 5.8 million residents have received at least one dose of vaccine. About half of those have received two doses.

The majority of vaccinations have been with the jab from BioNTech/Pfizer. (Dpa/NAN)

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