Denmark is definitively giving up AstraZeneca's vaccine against COVID-19 because of its "rare" but "serious" side effects, its health authorities announced on Wednesday, making the Scandinavian country the first to abandon it in Europe.
Despite the opinions of the European regulator and the WHO in favor of its use,
vaccination campaign in Denmark continues without AstraZeneca vaccine, said the director of the National Health Agency, Søren Brostrøm, at a press conference.
The approximately 150,000 people who received a dose of the serum will be offered another vaccine for their second dose, according to the authorities.
Denmark was already the first country in Europe to completely suspend use of the vaccine on March 11, after reports describing exceptional cases of blood clots, combined with low platelets and bleeding.
Despite a favorable opinion from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for its use, the country had maintained its suspension, like neighboring Norway, choosing to deepen its investigation into the link between these few serious cases and vaccination.
If it then confirmed on April 8 a link to serious but rare cases of thrombosis, the EMA had estimated that the benefits of the vaccine still outweighed the risks.
The majority of European countries which had suspended the use of the vaccine have resumed it, most often by setting an age limit.
Elsewhere, South Africa also gave up in February, because its effectiveness is questioned in the face of the variant which is ravaging the country. The United States, like Switzerland, has still not authorized it, and Venezuela has refused to authorize it citing its side effects.
The abandonment of the vaccine means an extension of at least three weeks of the Danish immunization program, which provided for the vaccination of all over 16 years for the month of July.
Among the injections of the AstraZeneca vaccine carried out, two cases of serious thrombosis – including one fatal – had been recorded in Denmark in people previously in good health.
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