Germany halts AstraZeneca jabs over reported clot risks: ministry

German Health Minister Jens Spahn attends a press briefing in Berlin, Germany, 29 January 2021. [EPA-EFE/CHRISTIAN MARQUARDT / POOL]

Germany on Monday halted the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine after reported blood clotting incidents in Europe, saying that a closer look was necessary.

“After new reports of thromboses of the cerebral veins in connection with the vaccination in Germany and Europe, the PEI considers further investigations to be necessary,” said the German health ministry, referring to a recommendation by the country’s vaccine authority, the Paul Ehrlich Institute.

“The European Medicines Agency EMA will decide whether and how the new findings will affect the approval of the vaccine,” it added.

Several European countries, including Ireland and the Netherlands, have suspended usage of the shots, which were jointly developed with the University of Oxford.

Both the British-Swedish company and Oxford have said there was no link between their vaccine and blood clotting.

AstraZeneca had said the 15 incidences of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and 22 events of pulmonary embolism reported among those given the vaccine was “much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population”.

The vaccine has been widely used in Britain’s inoculation campaign, but in the European Union, a rollout using the jabs has been slowed down by delivery problems.

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