“We need more time” said 4 Nordic countries about the AstraZeneca vaccine
With all the fuss and confusion around about AstraZeneca’s vaccine let us clear things out and see what we do know so far. Is this vaccine safe? Does it cause blood clots? Have countries seized its use? Denmark, Sweden, and Norway announced that they need more time to decide whether to use the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19, while Finland joined them in suspending the use of the vaccine, although the European Union’s regulatory drug authority suggests that the benefits outweigh the potential risks, with many countries restarting AstraZeneca vaccination’s use.
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“We need time to investigate,” Soren Brostrem, head of the Danish Health Service, told reporters today.
Several European countries temporarily stopped their use of the vaccine last week following reports of rare cases of blood clots in people who had used the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Today, almost a dozen of them have been vaccinated again since EMA’s approval of the continuation of vaccinations.
“This does not change the fact that, on the basis of the precautionary principle, we are continuing our suspension because we need to understand the situation better so that we can say with certainty that we recommend this vaccine,” said Bostrem.
Finland, which had not suspended the use of the vaccine, has announced that it will suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine while the investigation into two suspected cases of blood clots continues.
“Once we do the research, we will be able to better inform people about the risk associated with the vaccine, if any,” said Taneli Poumalainen, chief physician at the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare.
Health authorities in all four northern countries have said they will decide whether to use the AstraZeneca vaccine next week.
Norway has so far reported five cases in which people who received the vaccine were later admitted to hospital with a combination of blood clots, bleeding, and low platelets, one of whom died. One-sixth, who had also been vaccinated, died of cerebral haemorrhage combined with a reduced platelet count.
“These cases are rare but very serious. The Norwegian Medicines Agency stated that it cannot be ruled out that these cases might be related to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Sweden is also looking into isolated cases of blood clots and coagulation issues among people who have received the vaccine, including two deaths, although authorities have said any possible link to the vaccines remains unclear.
“We know there are already many who are beginning to be hesitant about the vaccine,” Anders Tegnell, chief epidemiologist at Sweden, the architect of Sweden’s non-Lockdown pandemic strategy, told the public network SVT.
“This means that it is extremely important that we are able to give clear messages on how and why we continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
Sweden, Finland, and Norway have seen a rapid increase in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks. In Denmark, the number of infections has dropped, and the authorities are gradually reopening society.
AstraZeneca said on Sunday that a review of the safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in Britain and the European Union with its vaccine showed no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.
It is important to understand that while further studies need to and will be made to investigate whether there is any connection with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and blood clots, we must not panic. Millions of people have been vaccinated and they are perfectly healthy and not affected in any negative way. We are talking about a handful of cases with blood clots that might or might not have any relation with the vaccine. We also need to be able to see the whole picture, no medicine comes with 0 risks, be that small or big and we need to take into consideration whether getting the wider population vaccinated outweighs the potential risks for a minority of people. Stay calm, stay informed and keep yourselves safe while practising social distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands regularly as always.
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