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Denmark becomes first European country to drop AstraZeneca vaccine

Denmark becomes first European country to drop AstraZeneca vaccine
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Denmark on Wednesday announced that it will no longer be administering AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine amid concerns on links to rare blood clots, making it the first European country to make its suspension permanent. 

Danish Health Authority head Soren Brostrom said in a statement that investigations into the blood clots among some individuals who received the AstraZeneca shot “showed real and serious side effects.” 

“Based on an overall consideration, we have therefore chosen to continue the vaccination program for all target groups without this vaccine,” Brostrom said Wednesday, according to Reuters

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Denmark was the first in a wave of countries to announce a suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine in March over concerns of a potential connection between the inoculation and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a brain blood clot.

While a safety committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said last week that a “possible link” exists between the vaccine and blood clots, it argued that the benefits of the inoculation to protect against COVID-19 outweigh the risks. 

Countries have begun gradually reintroducing the AstraZeneca vaccine, though several, including Canada, Italy and the United Kingdom, have recommended that the shot be limited to residents in older age groups. 

Earlier this month, the EMA reported that it had recorded 169 cases of CVST following the distribution of about 34 million AstraZeneca doses in the European Economic Area, Reuters reported. 

About 15 percent of Denmark’s 5.8 million people have received the AstraZeneca vaccine, while 77 percent have received the Pfizer-BioNTech inoculation. Another 7 percent have gotten the Moderna shot, according to Reuters. 

Concerns of blood clots have also surfaced in the U.S. surrounding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six patients, all women between the ages of 18 and 48, developed blood clotting issues after receiving the vaccine. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday both recommended a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson shot so that the agencies could investigate the reports of blood clots.