Denmark awaits own studies before final decision on AstraZeneca vaccine

Denmark awaits own studies before final decision on AstraZeneca vaccine
The director of the Danish Health Authority, Søren Brostrøm. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
The Danish Health Authority will await the results of the country’s own studies on rare cases of blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine before making a final decision on whether to resume its use.

The authority confirmed it is yet to finalise a decision after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Wednesday announced it had come to the conclusion that the unusual blood clots suffered by numerous people around Europe should be considered as rare side effects of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, but that overall the benefits of the jab outweigh the risk.

The director of the Danish Health Authority, Søren Brostrøm, said he back the ongoing position taken by Denmark to pause use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

READ ALSO: What does Denmark’s continued AstraZeneca pause mean for Covid-19 vaccination programme?

“EMA’s conclusion shows it was important to investigate the possible connection.

“It confirms for us that we have shown reasonable caution in Denmark by pausing the vaccine while the vaccine is investigated,” Brostrøm said in a statement.

“We are awaiting the Danish results and also expect to come forward with an announcement next week based on the knowledge we have acquired,” he added.

While millions of doses of the vaccine developed with Oxford University have been administered, small numbers of people have developed deadly blood clots, which prompted Denmark and other countries, including the European Union’s three largest nations – Germany, France and Italy – to temporarily suspend injections.

In March the EMA said the vaccine was “safe and effective” in protecting people against Covid-19 but that it couldn’t rule out a link to blood clots, and that more investigations were needed.

On Wednesday the EMA said the AstraZeneca vaccine should continue to be used for all age groups but that people should be told of the possible rare side effects. The announcement came as the UK’s own drugs regulator said the AZ vaccine should now only be given to over 30s.

The EMA said it was “reminding healthcare professionals and people receiving the vaccine to remain aware of the possibility of very rare cases of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets occurring within two weeks of vaccination.”

Denmark initially paused use of the vaccine on March 11th before extending its suspension by three weeks from March 25th.

The Danish Health Authority expects to announce a final decision as planned next week.

Just under 150,000 people in Denmark have received the AstraZeneca inoculation, according to official figures.

Brostrøm said that any risk of blood clots for those who have already received the company’s vaccine in Denmark has probably now disappeared.

“We can see that the risk of serious side effects in connection with the vaccination is expected to be greatest within the first 7-10 days, is quite small after 14 days and completely gone after 21 days,” he said.

“We can also see that there do not appear to be any later cases of serious blood clots,” he added.

“It is therefore our assessment that persons in Denmark whom have been vaccinated with the vaccine from AstraZeneca no longer need to be concerned about getting these rare side effects,” he said.


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