In this file photo taken on January 09, 2021 boxes of vials of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine are seen in a refridgerator at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol, one of seven mass vaccination centres which are set to open next week as Britain continues its vaccination programme against Covid-19. D (Agence France Presse/Andrew Matthews)
Denmark on Tuesday announced it would stop using the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine altogether, becoming the first European country to do so over suspected rare but serious side effects.
Despite recommendations from the WHO and European medicines watchdog to continue using the vaccine, "Denmark's vaccination campaign will go ahead without the AstraZeneca vaccine," Danish Health Authority director Soren Brostrom told a press conference.
Bloomberg reported that the country’s health authorities are due to brief reporters at 2 p.m. in Copenhagen. State broadcaster DR was among media outlets to report the decision, without saying how it obtained the information.
Denmark was one of the first countries to suspend the vaccine on March 11 after reports of blood clots. At the time, the Danish Health Authority called the decision a precautionary move and reiterated its view that Astra’s vaccine was “effective and safe.”
Both European and British drug regulators have said they found a link between Astra’s vaccine and blood clots, but said benefits still outweigh the risks. Most Western European countries have limited their use of the company’s vaccine to the elderly, while in Eastern Europe, Astra has largely been reinstated with no limitations.
Denmark’s Scandinavian neighbor, Norway, which has also kept Astra on hold since last month, is due to announce its decision on Thursday.