Netherlands suspends AstraZeneca Covid vaccine for under-60s

James CrispFri, 2 April 2021, 6:31 pm

A mass vaccination centre in Breda, the Netherlands. The country's decision to suspend the AstraZeneca jab for those under 60 means 10,000 planned vaccinations will be cancelled - Rob Engelaar/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
A mass vaccination centre in Breda, the Netherlands. The country’s decision to suspend the AstraZeneca jab for those under 60 means 10,000 planned vaccinations will be cancelled – Rob Engelaar/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The Netherlands suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under 60 on Friday, forcing the cancellation of 10,000 planned vaccinations.

The decision, which came into effect immediately, was made after a woman died after receiving the shot. No link to the jab has been proven.

The temporary suspension, following similar moves in France and Germany, is linked to fears over blood clots and could be lifted after a report by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Wednesday.

Just under 2.4 million doses had been administered in the Netherlands by March 28, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control – only 12 percent of the adult population.

Hugo de Jonge, the health minister, said: “There should be no doubt whatsoever about the safety of vaccines. We must err on the side of caution, so it is wise to press the pause button now as a precaution.”

The woman died of a pulmonary embolism through a rare combination of thrombosis and reduced number of blood platelets.

Last week, the EMA said there was “no evidence” to support restricting the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in any population. British regulators said they have identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events associated with the jab, but stressed that its benefits in preventing Covid outweigh any risks. AstraZeneca has said its trials show the jab is safe and effective and it is monitoring for side-effects.https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/kQWJZTqflUA?enablejsapi=1&modestbranding=1&origin=http://www.telegraph.co.uk&rel=0

A slew of European countries had previously suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab for people aged above 55 and 60 amid blood clot fears, before lifting those restrictions on EMA advice.

EU countries did not invest enough in vaccine development or production, France’s Europe minister admitted in a week that saw the country return to lockdown as a third Covid wave gripped Europe.

Clément Beaune was speaking before The Telegraph revealed that UK taxpayers had made crucial early investments in the Dutch factory at the centre of a burgeoning row between Britain and Brussels.

“On the European level, what we didn’t do well is investment in the last phase of the development of the vaccines, and the anticipation of production capacities,” Mr Beaune said.

AstraZeneca’s Halix plant in the Netherlands received UK taxpayer investment reported to be in the region of £21 million last April, but the government missed a chance to invest 10 million euros and potentially secure more jabs for themselves and the wider EU.

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