Due to reports of blood clotting in some of those injected, several European nations have announced a temporary suspension of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. While the drug company claimed that there is no proven correlation between the vaccine and reported blood clots, the German health minister stated that they have made the decision in order to further investigate the matter, per the recommendation of country’s vaccine regulator. Many other countries stated that the move was likely only a temporary and “precautionary measure,” as well. Both the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization have recommended “that people should continue to be immunized.” Among the nations which have suspended the use of the drug are Germany, Spain, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland, and Ireland.
“This is an unwelcome pause but nevertheless I think it’s important that we take heed of the advice we have received,” stated conservative Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin. Craig Kelly, a right-leaning member of the Australian House of Representatives, argued that it is “reckless & unconscionable for our health officials to continue to push the AstraZeneca vaccine after Germany, France & Spain suspended its use. Whatever happened to the precautionary principle ‘first do no harm’?” Anke Huckriede, Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, noted that it was originally thought that the “problems that had occurred were ordinary thromboses,” which are “quite common.” However, it has since been discovered by Germany’s vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, that they are actually cerebral venous thrombosis, a much rarer type of clot.
“The number of these cases after vaccination with [the AstraZeneca vaccine] is statistically significantly higher than the number of cerebral venous thromboses that normally occur in the unvaccinated population.”Statement by the Paul Ehrlich Institute
CNN’s Rob Picheta stated that the countries’ moves are “going against the advice of international medical agencies as a third wave of infections looms over the continent.”
“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.”Statement by the World Health Organization
“Many thousands of people develop blood clots annually in the EU for different reasons,” argued the European Medicines Agency. The safety lead of the United Kingdom’s vaccine regulator, Dr. Phil Bryan, stated that they are continuing to monitor the drug’s safety and “to ensure the benefits continue to outweigh any possible side effects.” English journalist Stig Abell called the suspension of the drug “nonsense” and stated, “The precautionary approach would value the greater (and widely-demonstrated) life-saving capacity of the vaccine for the many, rather than a few anomalous results.”