Germany, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Italy, France and Spain announced, Monday, March 15, 2021, the suspension of vaccination with the British anti-Coronavirus vaccine, AstraZeneca; For medical concerns, especially in light of concern about the possible side effects of this vaccine.
It is noteworthy that several European countries preceded them to take this measure, after talking about the possibility that it would have “dangerous” side effects; The already stalled vaccination campaign in Europe has plunged into chaos.
Where the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) decided, Monday evening, to suspend vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine, noting that this step is “temporary” and that it comes as a “precaution.”
French President Emmanuel Macron announced, during a press conference held in the capital, Paris, that his country would suspend the vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine, pointing out that this decision was taken on the recommendation of the Ministry of Health as a precaution, and hoping that it could be quickly resumed if the opinion of the European Medicines Agency permits.
Macron indicated that “the suspension decision will remain in effect until the agency gives its opinion on the aforementioned vaccine.”
Postponing the launch of the vaccination campaign
Also, the Indonesian Minister of Health, Budi Gonadi Sadkin, announced, on Monday, the postponement of the launch of the vaccination campaign with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
In the same context, the German Ministry of Health said, in a statement, that its decision to suspend the use of the vaccine was taken as a “precaution,” based on the recommendation of the “Paul Ehrlich” institute, which is responsible in Germany for issuing vaccination permits.
The German statement clarified that “the reported blood clots related to brain veins”, but did not specify where and when the accidents occurred.
As for the Netherlands, it has suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine until March 28, indicating that it is awaiting a more in-depth investigation into the implications of this vaccine.
Press the pause button
“We must always be careful,” said the Dutch Minister of Health, Hugo de Jong. “That is why it is wise to press the Stop Now button, in a precautionary measure.”
In turn, AstraZeneca defended the vaccine, saying that it conducted a review of more than 17 million who received the vaccine in the European Union and Britain, and did not find any evidence of an increased risk of developing blood clots, but stressed in return that the safety of patients is a “top priority.”
Pleas not to stop
While the World Health Organization has appealed to countries not to stop vaccination campaigns from the disease that has killed about two million and 700 thousand people around the world so far, pointing out that its advisory committee is reviewing reports on the impact of the vaccine, and will publish its findings, as soon as possible.
But she indicated that it is unlikely to change her recommendation, last month, to use the vaccine on a large scale, including in countries where a new strain of Covid-19 that appeared in South Africa may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine.
No evidence until today
For his part, Christian Lindmeier, a spokesperson for the Health Organization, told Reuters: “There is still no evidence that the cases resulted from receiving the vaccine, and it is important that the vaccination campaigns continue so that we can save lives and prevent severe cases of the virus.”
While the European Medicines Agency held a meeting, on Monday evening, to discuss the “AstraZeneca” vaccine.
It is worth noting that these steps, taken by some of the largest and most populous European countries, will increase concerns about the slow pace of the vaccination campaign in the region that suffers from shortages in vaccine supplies, including AstraZeneca, due to problems in its production.
It should be noted that a senior US official said, earlier Monday, that the long-awaited results of the AstraZeneca vaccine trial on 30,000 people in the United States are now under review by independent observers; To determine the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
Last Thursday, Norway, Denmark and Iceland suspended the use of the “AstraZeneca” vaccine, against the backdrop of a report about the death of a citizen in Denmark after suffering a blood clot, and because of the circulation of reports of serious blood clots after receiving the vaccine.
Ireland, Italy, and Austria also joined it, on Sunday, March 14th, due to the same concerns.
The only European vaccine that has reached poor countries
The AstraZeneca vaccine is among the least expensive and accounts for the largest portion of vaccines that have been delivered To the world’s poorest countries Under the Kovacs initiative supported by the World Health Organization, which aims to ensure an equal distribution of vaccines worldwide.
It is worth noting that the large-scale vaccination campaigns are pivotal to ending the pandemic that has killed more than 2.6 million people worldwide.
In a related context, Maria Van Krikoff, an expert in infectious diseases at the World Health Organization, said Monday that “last week witnessed an increase of 11% in Covid-19 cases around the world, which raises fears that measures to stop the spread of the pandemic may be on the way to collapse with” Increasing the distribution of vaccines, “stressing that” this is not the time to abandon our caution. “