SPAIN has called a temporary halt to the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after reports of cases of thrombosis amongst people who had received the shot.
It has followed the lead of a number of European countries in suspending use of the jab in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic after a number of cases of blood clots were reported amongst patients.
Madrid suspended immunisation using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine until the European Medicines Agency clarifies whether it is related to the thrombosis events – meanwhile the EMA has insisted the benefits of the jab outweigh any risks.
Both the EMA and the World Health Organisation insist there are very few cases and no causal link has been made to the vaccine. While WHO admitted no medicine was “100% safe” it underlined the rates at which blood clots were being experienced were lower than the numbers of thrombosis found in the general population.
Spain’s health minister Carolina Darias said the halt was called because of the detection of an “an unusual” form of thrombosis made it “prudent” to suspend use of the vaccine for two weeks or until the EMA reported results of its probe.
She said six million doses had been given across the EU and 11 cases of cerebral venous thrombosis detected. “These are few cases in absolute terms, but given the qualitative importance of each one of them and the fact that in the general population there are very few cases of clotting disorders, we believe it is prudent to stop.”
The minister did not state whether it would affect Spain’s target of immunising 70% of the adult population by the end of summer but said there was time to get the results of the research before giving a second dose of AstraZeneca as the period between the two injections can be between 10 and 12 weeks.