A health worker administers a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 to a patient inside the convention center known as “La Nuvola”, The Cloud, in Rome, Wednesday, March 10, 2021. The visually extraordinary complex designed by famed architect Massimiliano Fuksas has been transformed into a temporary vaccination center. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

A health worker administers a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 to a patient inside the convention center known as “La Nuvola”, The Cloud, in Rome, Wednesday, March 10, 2021. The visually extraordinary complex designed by famed architect Massimiliano Fuksas has been transformed into a temporary vaccination center. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Denmark pauses AstraZeneca vaccine jabs to probe blood clots

Denmark’s suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine will last for at least two weeks

Denmark has temporarily suspended use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine after reports of blood clots in some people, but its health authority said Thursday it has no evidence the vaccine was responsible.

Other experts pointed out that of the millions of AstraZeneca vaccine shots administered elsewhere, including in Britain, there have been no reported cases of the vaccine causing blood clots or related problems.

Denmark’s Health Authority said its decision was “based on a precautionary principle” and that one person who developed a blood clot after vaccination had died.

“At present, it cannot be concluded whether there is a link between the vaccine and the blood clots,” authorities said. Danish officials did not say if the patient had any underlying conditions and did not provide any other details, including age or gender.

Some doctors pointed out that people now being immunized against COVID-19 are more likely to already have health problems and that it would be difficult to determine whether a vaccine shot is responsible.

“The vast majority of people being vaccinated at the moment are elderly or have got underlying diseases,” said Dr. Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia. “They will be at increased risk for all sorts of adverse outcomes, regardless of whether or not they have been vaccinated.”

Hunter said there were 11 reports of blood clots in Britain, and none have been shown to have been caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine. He said pausing immunizations was also a risky decision in itself.

“When you stop vaccinating, you know that some people will die of COVID-19,” he said.

Denmark’s suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine will last for at least two weeks, the agency said, adding it hinged on an evaluation by the EU medical regulator.

“Like others, I find (the pausing) and its consequences annoying. It’s too early to conclude in this case and when there is a risk, it must be investigated,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said.

After the Danish announcement, Norway decided to follow suit and temporarily suspend the Anglo-Swedish company’ s vaccine, which was developed by the University of Oxford, also saying that there are no proven links. In addition, Italy’s pharmaceutical agency on Thursday ordered a precautionary ban on a particular batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine after what it said were “serious adverse events.”

In an interview with the broadcaster La Sexta, Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias said there had been no similar incidents in Spain and said only minor side effects had been reported from the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Dr. Bharat Pankhania, an infectious diseases expert at Britain’s University of Exeter, called Denmark’s decision to pause its use of AstraZeneca shots “a dramatic step.”

“The vaccine has been given to several million people all over the world and we have not had similar reports of vaccine-induced clotting,” he said, adding that the blood clots were more likely to be “separate, unconnected events.”

READ MORE: No evidence Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is behind blood clots, Canadian experts say

Britain’s medicines regulator, MHRA, reacted by noting there was no confirmation that the reported blood clot was caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine. “People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so,” it said.

But Hendrik Streeck, a German virologist at the University of Bonn, said the Danish decision was the right one.

“It’s not clear what the cause was, that’s why the vaccinations are being stopped for now,” Streeck told German broadcaster n-tv. “In very rare cases, there can be a problem with a specific batch. Now they are looking to see what caused the clot.”

“We don’t want to put anybody at risk, but I’m not concerned,” he said. “The exact right thing is being done in Denmark.”

The European Medicines Agency has begun investigating the cases in Denmark but so far there’s no information that there are more blood clots in people who have received a vaccine.

On Wednesday, the EMA said Austria had suspended the use of a batch of COVID-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca after a person had been diagnosed with multiple blood clots died 10 days after vaccination, and another was hospitalized with blockage in arteries in the lungs after being vaccinated. The latter is now recovering.

Two other reports of similar problems had been received for this batch as of March 9, the EMA said, though there is no indication that the problems were caused by the vaccine.

The EMA said the 1 million-dose batch in question was delivered to 17 EU countries.

Germany’s Paul Ehrlich Institute, which oversees vaccine matters, said it was in contact with Danish authorities and the EMA on the issue but that no doses from the batch used in Austria were on the German market.

——

Cheng reported from London. Frank Jordans contributed to this report.

___

Jan M. Olsen And Maria Cheng, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

The Columbia Valley Wetlands are known for their extensive and fragile ecosystem. (File photo)
Wildsight speaks out against logging in Columbia Wetlands

Located 50 kms south of Golden, the proposed operation was justified as bark beetle management

Residents, especially those with yards with long grass and wooded areas, are encouraged to check themselves and their pets for ticks after being outside. Ticks have reportedly been found in Golden near the pump track. File photo
Ticks found in Golden as spring approaches

Between five and 10 people each year go to hospital in Golden for ticks

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

A North Okanagan man in his late 20s was flown to hospital by air ambulance Saturday, April 17, shortly after 6:30 p.m. after allegedly crashing on his longboard on a Spallumcheen roadway. (File photo)
Suspected longboard crash in Okanagan sends individual to hospital via air ambulance

Accident involved a North Okanagan man in his late 20s on Otter Lake Road in Spallumcheen

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

Coldstream Fire Department crews stationed at Kal Lake Provincial Park parking lot on Cosens Bay Road on Sunday, April 18, after a car went over a cliff in the area. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Driver escapes after car goes over North Okanagan cliff

The driver has been transported to hospital with unspecified injuries

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

Vernon Vipers goalie Roan Clarke celebrates his team’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

This is what’s left of a truck that caught fire at Pyramid Provincial Park off Highway 97 near Summerland Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Photo Gallery: Truck gutted by fire at popular Okanagan park, trees saved

Just a metal shell of what once was a pick up truck is left at the scene

Most Read