A growing list of European countries have suspended use of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine as a precuationary measure pending review from Europe's health regulator.
France became the latest country to do so, following Italy and Germany earlier today, while they await a ruling by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Tuesday afternoon.
Previous guidance from the EMA has said the benefits of the shot outweigh any potential risks.
Here's a look at the European countries that have suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine so far:
- Denmark: On Thursday, Denmark suspended AstraZeneca vaccinations for 14 days as a “precautionary measure” as it investigates “signs of a possible serious side effect in the form of fatal blood clots” after one Danish person died following vaccination, according to Danish health officials.
- Norway: On Thursday, Norway chose to “pause” vaccinations following reports of the death in Denmark. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said similar cases had been reported in Norway, but “mainly in the elderly where there is often another underlying disease as well.”
- Iceland: On Thursday, Iceland suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. There have been no reports of patients developing blood clots in the country.
- Bulgaria: On Friday, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov ordered a halt to all AstraZeneca vaccinations until the EMA “rejects all doubts” about the vaccine's safety.
- Ireland: On Sunday, Ireland decided to temporarily suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to "maintain confidence" in its vaccine program, according to the Chair of its National Immunization Advisory Committee.
- Netherlands: On Sunday, the Dutch government said it would pause AstraZeneca vaccinations for two weeks “as a precautionary measure and pending further investigation.”
- Germany: On Monday, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said the country was “precautiously” halting vaccinations with the AstraZeneca vaccine following similar moves by other European countries.
- Italy: On Monday, Italy’s medicines agency banned the use of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine "as a precaution and temporarily," pending a meeting of the European Medicines Agency.
- France: On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron said they were suspending use of the vaccine until a definitive ruling from Europe's health regulator on Tuesday afternoon. “We have one principle: be guided by science and competent health authorities, and do so within a coordinated European approach,” Macron said.
Meanwhile, the UK continues to use the AstraZeneca vaccine and maintains that it is safe. Earlier Monday, the deputy head of the United Kingdom’s Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunizations said there is no indication of a link between blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine and is encouraging people to continue to get the shot.
“The UK has administered 11 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and there has been no demonstrable difference in the number of blood clots since the vaccine was introduced,” Anthony Harnden said in a tweet posted by Public Health England. “The vaccine has been rigorously tested for safety and approved by the European Medicines Agency, MHRA and WHO, so people should continue to take it.”