Germany, France, Italy and Spain became the latest countries to suspend the use of the vaccine even as a third wave of the pandemic threatens the continent.
As a third wave of the pandemic crashes over Europe, questions about the safety of one of the continent’s most commonly available vaccines led Germany, France, Italy and Spain to provisionally suspend its use on Monday, and the stoppages created even further turmoil in vaccination rollouts even as new coronavirus variants proceed to increase.
The decisions followed reports that a handful of people who had received the vaccine, made by AstraZeneca, had developed lethal brain haemorrhages and blood clots.
The company has staunchly defended its vaccine, saying that there’s no indication of enhanced risk of blood clots or haemorrhages among the more than 17 million people who’ve received the shot in the European Union and the United Kingdom.
AstraZeneca said in a statement that they were working with national health authorities and European officials and looked forward to their assessment later this week.
The timing of the stay in vaccinations by some of Europe’s largest countries, which followed a flurry of comparable actions by Denmark, Norway and numerous others, could not have been worse.
Europe’s vaccine rollouts already linger far behind those in Britain and the United States, and there’s a dawning awareness that much of the continent is suffering a third influx of infections.
Leading immunologists fretted on Monday that the decision by several of Europe’s leading countries to omit the use of AstraZeneca would make vaccination efforts even harder by emboldening vaccine heretics in countries where they’re particularly entrenched.
The European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organisation recommended against a departure from vaccines that would undermine rollout efforts at a pivotal moment, and the World Health Organisation, chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, said at a news conference, adding that no link had been discovered between the clotting disorders reported in some nations and COVID 19 shots.
A World Health Organisation advisory committee plan to meet to review the vaccine.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA), said on Monday that they would continue to examine a possible link between the AstraZeneca shots and blood clots or bleeding in the brain, but the agency said numbers of such problems reported in vaccinated people didn’t seem higher than those normally observed in the general populace.
Germany, for example, recorded seven instances of a rare cerebral vein thrombosis out of 1.6 million people who received the vaccine there.
The great global problem here is that these vaccines were not properly tested, and it appears that these pharmaceutical companies are not using the vaccine to solve the disease but to treat the symptoms and I fear that all contradictions will be visible in a few months or years.
And will there now be a concern for those who have a predisposition to blood clots from their parents who died from thrombosis, and should this be pause for thought?