BFF-30 Denmark extends AstraZeneca vaccine pause for three weeks

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HEALTH-VIRUS-DENMARK-VACCINE,LEAD

Denmark extends AstraZeneca vaccine pause for three weeks

COPENHAGEN, March 25, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – Denmark on Thursday extended its
suspension of use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, saying it had not
ruled out a link to blood clots despite the European medicines regulator
deeming it safe.

Denmark was the first country to suspend the AstraZeneca jab in mid-March,
a decision then followed by more than a dozen other mostly European
countries, after reports of blood clots potentially linked to the vaccine.

“We have today decided to extend our pause for another three weeks” until
April 18, the director of the Danish Health Authority, Soren Brostrom, told a
press conference.

“We have discussed this with domestic experts, who still believe that
concerns remain. That’s why we are sticking with the pause,” Brostrom said.

Causing most concern is a combination of blood clots, haemorrhaging and
low blood platelet levels that was rare but occasionally fatal.

The World Health Organization has urged countries to continue
administering the vaccine, arguing the benefits outweigh the risks.

EU drugs regulator EMA last week said the vaccine was “safe and effective”
and not linked to a higher risk of blood clots, but could not “rule out
definitively” its role in the rare clotting disorder.

Numerous European countries subsequently lifted their suspensions, while
the Nordic nations maintained theirs pending further checks.

“We are not going against the EMA’s decision, we are building upon it and
going further,” Brostrom said.

Brostrom added that they would continue to investigate whether certain
groups were subject to particular risk, how high that risk was and whether it
was acceptable.

Finland and Iceland resumed inoculations using the jab this week, but only
for seniors, and Sweden followed suit on Thursday.

A Norwegian decision was expected on Friday.

Denmark, a country of 5.8 million people, has recorded a total of 227,894
cases of Covid-19 and 2,405 associated deaths.

The AstraZeneca suspension has slowed the country’s ambitious vaccination
rollout, with 5.7 percent of the population fully vaccinated and a first dose
administered to 11.1 percent.

BSS/AFP/BZC/2025HRS