The vaccine will not be used for 14 days while investigators probe reports of possible ‘serious side-effects’.
Denmark has temporarily suspended the use of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccines after reports that some people who received the jabs had developed serious blood clots, including one in Denmark, Danish authorities said on Thursday.
They did not say how many reports of blood clots there had been, but Austria has stopped using a specific batch of the shots while investigating a death from coagulation disorders and a hospitalisation for a pulmonary embolism.
They said six other European countries had halted the use of that batch of AstraZeneca vaccines.
“Both we and the Danish Medicines Agency have to respond to reports of possible serious side-effects, both from Denmark and other European countries,” Soren Brostrom, director of the Danish Health Authority, said in a statement.
The vaccine would be suspended for 14 days, the health agency said. It did not give details of the Danish individual who developed blood clots.
AstraZeneca has said its shots are subject to strict and rigorous quality controls and that there have been “no confirmed serious adverse events associated with the vaccine”. It said it was in contact with Austrian authorities and would fully support their investigation.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Wednesday there was no evidence so far linking AstraZeneca to the two cases in Austria.
It said the number of thromboembolic events – marked by the formation of blood clots – in people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine is no higher than that seen in the general population, with 22 cases of such events being reported among the three million people who have received it as of March 9.
The Danish Medicines Agency said it had launched an investigation into the vaccine together with corresponding agencies in other EU-countries as well as EMA.
“It is important to emphasise that we have not opted out of using the AstraZeneca vaccine, but that we are putting it on hold,” Brostrom said.
The agency said it had pushed back the final date for when it expects all Danes to have been fully vaccinated by four weeks to August 15 as a result of the vaccine suspension.