Story at a glance
- The Danish Health Authority said the country’s rollout would continue without the AstraZeneca vaccine.
- Health authorities cited its possible link to rare cases of blood clots.
- Authorities also said the outbreak was under control in the country and other vaccines were readily available.
Denmark has become the first European country to permanently stop using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The Danish Health Authority on Wednesday announced the country’s vaccine rollout would move forward without the AstraZeneca vaccine due to its possible link to rare cases of blood clots.
While the country’s health agency emphasized the shot’s benefits outweigh the risks, it said it had decided against continuing to use the jab as the outbreak in the country is currently under control and other vaccines are available.
“Based on the scientific findings, our overall assessment is there is a real risk of severe side effects associated with using the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca,” Søren Brostrøm, director general of the Danish Health Authority, said in a statement Wednesday.
“In the midst of an epidemic, it has been a difficult decision to continue our vaccination programme without an effective and readily available vaccine against COVID-19. However, we have other vaccines at our disposal, and the epidemic is currently under control,” he said.
Brostrøm said a large proportion of the older population has already been vaccinated and those yet to receive a vaccine are at less of a risk.
Denmark was the first country to suspend use of all AstraZeneca vaccines in March over safety concerns and was followed by several other European nations, several of which have begun reintroducing the shots into their vaccine efforts.
A safety committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) last week concluded that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but still recommended its use as the benefits outweigh the risks of COVID-19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also recommended countries continue to use the vaccination.
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