Netherlands to resume use of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine after blood clod study
The Netherlands will lift its suspension on the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 after the European Medicines Agency determined the vaccine was unlikely to be the cause of specific cases of severe blood clotting which occurred in 25 people shortly after they were vaccinated. Use of the vaccine will begin “over the course of the next week,” said Health Minister Hugo de Jonge on Thursday night, hours after the EMA announcement.
The first people in the Netherlands who will begin receiving the vaccine are the 100 thousand whose appointments were cancelled when the use of the vaccine was suspended in the Netherlands on Sunday. People invited to receive the AstraZeneca product will not be given an alternative option just because they doubt the EMA’s study. “If you say ‘no thank you’ now for the vaccine, you will be at the back of the queue and it could take months for your turn,” he said.
The EMA said that “the benefits of the vaccine in combating the still widespread threat of COVID-19 (which itself results in clotting problems and may be fatal) continue to outweigh the risk of side effects.” It said that it found no definitive link between the AstraZeneca product and an increased risk of blood clots.
It also said that no one single batch of the vaccine led to a heightened risk of the thromboembolic events. It could, however, be connected to “very rare cases” of blood clotting combined with low levels of blood platelets, which could include bleeding. That might include CVST, a rare condition where clots in vessels drain blood from the brain, a known and rare side effect of vaccines.
“These are rare cases – around 20 million people in the UK and EEA had received the vaccine as of March 16 and EMA had reviewed only 7 cases of blood clots in multiple blood vessels (disseminated intravascular coagulation, DIC) and 18 cases of CVST. A causal link with the vaccine is not proven, but is possible and deserves further analysis,” the EMA said in its statement.
”The reason we can now cancel the hiatus is because the vaccine is safe,” De Jonge stated. “Not a day should be missed, fortunately the two-week break has been considerably shortened by this study by EMA."
Some countries in the European Union, including Italy, have said they will begin using the AstraZeneca vaccine starting on Friday.