Germany joins other European nations in suspending AstraZeneca jab

By Friederike Heine, dpa

Germany on Monday become the latest country to temporarily suspend use of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca over blood clot concerns, joining others in Europe including Ireland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands.

The German Health Ministry pointed to a recommendation from the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) for vaccines and biomedicines that further research was required.

“After new reports of thrombosis of the cerebral veins in connection with the vaccine in Germany and Europe, the PEI considers further investigations to be necessary,” a ministry spokesman said.

Health Minister Jens Spahn was scheduled to comment on the decision later on Monday.

Several other countries in Europe have also temporarily halted vaccinations with the jab produced by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant and Britain’s Oxford University, which has been inconclusively linked to a risk of blood clots.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), which recommended the vaccine be approved in late January, has launched an investigation into the vaccine, as have national health authorities in several European countries.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday rejected the idea Britain would suspend the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Johnson said the medicines regulator in Britain was “one of the toughest and most experienced” in the world and they see “no reason at all” to discontinue any of the vaccines being administered to Britons.

“They believe that they [Britain’s current vaccines] are highly effective in driving down not just hospitalization but also serious disease and mortality,” Johnson told reporters on Monday, according to the Press Association (PA) news agency.

“We continue to be very confident about the programme and it’s great to see it being rolled out at such speed across the UK,” he said.

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