More and more European countries are suspending using the AstraZeneca vaccine because of concerns about possible side effects.
These include Denmark, Norway and Iceland. Italy says it will not use a specific batch of AstraZeneca vaccines.
The countries are responding to reports of blood clots in people who have been vaccinated. Austria, Luxembourg and the Baltic states previously restricted the use of the drug for that reason. As a precaution, they stopped inoculations with a batch of 1 million AstraZeneca vaccines after the death of a vaccinated woman in Austria.
The United Kingdom defended the plea of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca. A government spokesman said it is safe, and people can be vaccinated with confidence.
The roll-out of the vaccine in Europe has been associated with problems for some time. Many countries initially decided not to give the AstraZeneca drug to the elderly. The underlying reason was that only a limited number of older adults participated in the drug’s original study. As a result, it was not entirely clear how well the drug works in people in that age group.
The production of the vaccines did not go smoothly either. AstraZeneca turned out to supply fewer vaccines than had been promised, to the chagrin of the EU.