France, Germany suspend use of AstraZeneca

Paris/Berlin, March 15 : France and Germany decided on Monday to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine as a “precautionary measure” pending an assessment by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

“The EMA is to give its opinion tomorrow afternoon. The decision that was taken, in accordance with our European policy, is to suspend as a precaution the vaccination with AstraZeneca, hoping to resume it as soon as possible if the opinion is favourable,” French President Emmanuel Macron said at a press conference in Montauban, southwestern France, where he was attending the 26th Franco-Spanish summit with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Xinhua news agency reported.

In Berlin, Health Minister Jens Spahn cited a recommendation issued by the Paul Ehrlich Institut (PEI), an agency of the German federal Health Ministry, referring to new reports of thromboses of the cerebral veins in connection with the vaccination with AstraZeneca’s product.

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The Covid-19 vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, was authorized for use in the European Union (EU) on January 29.

“To maintain confidence in the vaccine, we need to give our experts in Germany and the European Union the time to review the recent incidents,” Spahn said, adding that the EMA was expected to come to a decision later this week about the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Some EU countries including Austria, Italy, Bulgaria, Denmark, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia and non-EU countries Norway and Iceland have already fully or partially suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports of suspected deaths from blood clots after vaccinations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that it “systematically reviews safety signals, and is carefully assessing the current reports on the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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