France, Italy, Germany and Spain became the latest European nations to halt the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine temporarily due to small number of blood clots concern, with the third wave of the novel virus looming over the continent.
Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias was quoted as saying by CNN that the country will stop the vaccine for two weeks.
On March 15, Darias announced during a nationally televised news conference that a temporary and precautionary suspension has been placed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) until the risks can be evaluated properly.
Furthermore, the health minister of Germany – Jens Spahn – also announced that the country would put inoculations on hold as a precaution after more cases of blood clots were reported in people after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine jab.
Same precautionary measure has also been taken by the health department of Denmark and Norway as well.
France and Italy also paused their rollouts of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday.
“We have decided to suspend the use of AstraZeneca as a precautionary measure and are hoping to resume it quickly if the EMA’s allows it,” French President Emmanuel Macron said at a news conference on Monday.
This move goes completely against the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO), the EMA and the pharmaceutical giant itself, all of whom had previously claimed that there is no evidence of a link with clotting of blood after getting injected with the vaccine and asserted the fact that rollouts should continue.
“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,” the WHO said in a statement to CNN.
WHO has been pushing forward the COVAX initiative which is expected to include a large portfolio of COVID-19 vaccine products in the future.