The Dutch Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge arrives on March 5th for the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers in The Hague at the Binnenhof. Koen van Weel / ANP / AFP / Getty Images
The Netherlands became the youngest European nation on Sunday to suspend AstraZeneca vaccinations for blood clot problems, despite the European Union’s Medicines Agency advising that the benefits of the shot outweigh any potential risks.
Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Bulgaria and Ireland have also stopped vaccination.
Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said Monday that a “rare combination” of blood clots and lowered platelets in several AstraZeneca vaccine recipients in Norway and Denmark was “reason enough” to stop using the vaccine in the Netherlands for two weeks.
While any causality remains an open question, reports on six cases in Norway and Denmark had given the Dutch Medicines Agency ample reason to “hit the pause button,” said de Jonge.
“Thrombosis is of course a very common complaint. So if you vaccinate a large group of people, it’s not crazy that after vaccination there are also people with thrombosis. In this case, however, it is a very rare combination of thrombosis and bleeding may also occur due to a reduced number of platelets, ”he added.
The health minister had only said on Thursday that blood clots “do not occur because of vaccination” and that “there is no need to worry”.
In a letter sent to Parliament on Sunday, de Jonge wrote that the pause would remain in force until March 29, “pending further advice from the EMA” or the European Medicines Agency.
The EMA announced Thursday that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks and does not recommend suspending use while investigations into thromboembolic events are ongoing.
The EMA said it was known that Denmark would suspend AstraZeneca vaccinations due to reports of blood clots in people who had received them, but said: “There is currently no evidence that the vaccination caused these conditions Not listed as side effects are vaccine. ”
The Danish Medicines Agency said Monday the woman who died of a blood clot after taking AstraZeneca in Denmark had an “unusual clinical picture around death” with low levels of platelets, blood clots in small and large vessels and bleeding.
“The clinical picture is highly unusual and is currently being examined in detail by the European Medicines Agency,” said a statement from the agency.
Denmark is one of six European countries to stop using AstraZeneca despite the recommendation of the EMA.
- Denmark: On Thursday March 11th, Denmark suspended the AstraZeneca vaccination for 14 days as a “precautionary measure” as it was investigating “signs of a possible serious side effect in the form of fatal blood clots” after a Danish person had been vaccinated, according to the Danish has died health officials.
- Norway: On Thursday March 11, Norway decided to pause vaccinations after reports of death in Denmark. The Norwegian Public Health Institute said similar cases had been reported in Norway, but “mostly in the elderly, who often had another underlying condition”.
- Iceland: On Thursday March 11th, Iceland stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine. There are no reports of patients developing blood clots in the country.
- Bulgaria: On Friday March 12th Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov ordered the suspension of all AstraZeneca vaccinations until the EMA rejects “all doubts” about the safety of the vaccine.
- Ireland: On Sunday March 14th, Ireland decided to temporarily stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine in order to maintain confidence in its immunization program, according to the chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
- Netherlands: On Sunday, March 14th, the Dutch government announced that it would suspend vaccinations against AstraZeneca for two weeks “as a precaution and pending further investigations”.