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Italy will reserve AstraZeneca’s vaccine for those over 60 after concerns about an association with blood clots in younger people, the government’s top advisor on the coronavirus crisis announced on Wednesday.

The decision was made to “recommend preferred use for those over 60,” Franco Locatelli told reporters.

His announcement came hours after the EU Medicines Agency declared blood clots should be listed as a rare side effect of the sting – but insisted the benefits continue to outweigh the risks.

Locatelli spoke at a hastily convened press conference to explain the impact on Italy, one of several European countries that stopped using the AstraZeneca / Oxford push last month but resumed it after the EMA decided it that’s for sure.

World Health Organization vaccine experts reiterated the EMA’s latest findings on Wednesday, saying a causal link between the vaccine and the blood clots was “plausible but not confirmed”.

Locatelli, who coordinates the panel of experts advising the Italian government on coronavirus, said the blood clot data only suggest an association for people receiving the first dose.

Wednesday’s decision did not mean an outright ban on the use of the AstraZeneca sting on younger cohorts of people.

For example, Locatelli said there shouldn’t be a problem for anyone under the age of 60 getting their second and final dose of the vaccine.

Canada, France, Germany, and the Netherlands are among several countries that don’t recommend the AstraZeneca shot for younger people.

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