AstraZeneca vaccine suspended for under-60s in two German cities after 'rare blood clots'
- Category: Covid
- Created: Wednesday, 31 March 2021 18:26
- Written by AP / ABC
Authorities in Berlin and Munich have again suspended the use of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine for residents under the age of 60, due to new reports of unusual blood clots.
- 31 Germans experienced rare blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca jab
- 2.7 million doses have been administered in Germany so far
- All but two of the clotting cases involved women aged 20 to 63
The action was taken on Tuesday as a precaution ahead of a meeting of representatives from Germany's 16 states and before further recommendations expected from national medical regulators, said Berlin's top health official, Dilek Kalayci.
The decision came after the country's medical regulator announced it had received a total of 31 reports of rare blood clots in recent recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Nine of the people died, and all but two of the cases involved women aged 20 to 63, the Paul Ehrlich Institute said.
Some 2.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered across Germany so far.
Reports of an unusual form of blood clot in the head, known as sinus vein thrombosis, prompted several European countries to temporarily halt the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this month.
After a review by medical experts, the European Medicines Agency concluded the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks.
At the same time, the agency recommended that warnings about possible rare side effects should be provided to patients and doctors.
Most European Union countries, including Germany, resumed use of the vaccine.
Earlier on Tuesday, two state-owned hospitals in Berlin announced that they had stopped giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to female staff members under 55.
The heads of five university hospitals in western Germany called for a temporary halt to the vaccine for all younger women, citing the blood clot risk.
"We have not had a case of serious side effects in Berlin yet," said Ms Kalayci, the Berlin state health minister.
"Still, we need to treat it carefully and wait for the talks taking place at the federal level."
The decision could affect appointments for tens of thousands of teachers and people with pre-existing conditions who received invitations to get vaccinated in Germany's capital in recent days.
German news agency DPA quoted a spokesman for Munich, the country's third-largest city, saying that the suspension of AstraZeneca vaccinations for people younger than 60 would "last until the issue of possible vaccine complications for this group of persons has been resolved".
Some other European countries remain hesitant about giving the AstraZeneca shot to older people.
In Spain, Madrid residents aged 60 to 65 started receiving the vaccine on Tuesday, ahead of those between the ages of 66 and 79.
That was because Spanish authorities had not reviewed new data provided by AstraZeneca about how well it worked in the older age group.
The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are used in Spain for people over the age of 80.
Spanish health authorities are hoping to speed up the rollout of vaccines thanks to a jab developed by pharmaceutical company Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, which has also been approved for use in Europe and requires one shot only.
Source : https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-31/german-cities-suspend-astrazeneca-vaccine-use-for-under-60s/100039846