Dutch Health Council says don't use AstraZeneca Covid vaccine for under-60s: Report
The Dutch Health Council has issued a recommendation that healthcare workers use a method to inoculate people under the age of 60 against Covid-19 other than the AstraZeneca vaccine. Anyone who already received their first dose of the two-dose regimen will still be able to receive their second shot, broadcaster NOS reported based on interviews with anonymous sources.
The ministry asked the council to prepare new advice after the European Medicines Agency determined that blood clotting in combination with a low platelet count was a possible rare side effect of the vaccination. The EMA also said that with less than .001% of people likely to suffer from the condition, the benefits outweighed the risks and the vaccine should be put to use.
Health Minister Hugo de Jonge previously said that his office would issue a decision about restarting use of the AstraZeneca product soon after the council's report was completed. Should he follow the council's advice, the Netherlands would join Germany and Spain in limiting access to the vaccine to people 60 and up, NOS reported. Younger people in Italy may still be offered the AstraZeneca product with an option to receive something different.
Eight of the serious blood clot reports, including one fatality, have come from the Netherlands. The eight, all women, are between the ages of 23 and 65. Four of them suffered from extensive pulmonary embolisms, including one woman who died and another who also had a cerebral hemorrhage. Two others had extensive abdominal vein thrombosis, two developed sinus thrombosis, and one had blood clots form in the arteries of her legs.
The Netherlands suspended use of the vaccine on April 2 for people under 60, and everyone else a day later pending the EMA's report. Through April 4, over 575 thousand injections of the AstraZeneca vaccine were used in the Netherlands.
The EMA also said that so far the blood clot reports have not been linked to a specific risk group, gender, or medical history.
In advance of De Jonge's decision, the GGD municipal health services said they will cancel all vaccination appointments on Friday in which the AstraZeneca product was to be used.