NEW: Spain suspends use of AstraZeneca vaccine

NEW: Spain suspends use of AstraZeneca vaccine
A health worker holds a bottle of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 during a mass vaccination campaign by SUMMA 112 (Medical Emergency Services of Madrid) at the Wanda Metropolitan stadium in Madrid on February 25, 2021. Photo: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP
Spain is suspending the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for at least a fortnight, the health minister said Monday, the latest European country to do so over blood clot fears.

“We have decided to temporarily suspend (use of the AstraZeneca vaccine) as a precaution for at least the next two weeks,” Health Minister Carolina Darias told reporters, following similar moves by France, Germany and Italy.

The European Medicines Agency has said it believes the British-Swedish vaccine is safe to use but will hold a special meeting on Thursday to decide on “further actions” over the jab.

READ MORE: Which European countries have suspended AstraZeneca vaccines?

Countries should continue using AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine, the World Health Organization said on Monday, after many governments halted rollouts because of blood clot fears.

“We do not want people to panic and we would, for the time being, recommend that countries continue vaccinating with AstraZeneca,” WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told a press briefing.

Her comments came as a growing list of nations suspended use of the vaccine, pointing to cases of blood clots in people who had received the shot, which was jointly developed with the University of Oxford.

Swaminathan stressed that no causal link had been established between the vaccine and clotting.

“So far, we do not find an association between these events and the vaccine,” she said, pointing out that some blood clot incidents among the general population were to be expected.

When looking at those who had received the jab, the incidence is “in fact, less than what you would expect in the general population at the same time”, she said.

The UN health agency said its vaccine safety experts were looking at the AstraZeneca data.


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