The Dutch health minister said a temporary shutdown was a precautionary measure after five reports of blood clots with a low platelet count following vaccinations.
The Netherlands has stopped administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines until April 7.
The Dutch Ministry of Health announced on Friday that it would temporarily stop vaccinations for people under the age of 60. But after discussions on Saturday, health services decided to suspend all AstraZeneca jabs to avoid waste.
Some 700 people over the age of 60 were expected to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine in the coming days, but their appointments were also temporarily canceled, as there was no guarantee that a full batch could be fully used if only a few people were were receiving injections. .
The move comes days after German authorities also stopped using AstraZeneca’s vaccine in those under the age of 60, citing new concerns about unusual blood clots reported in a small number of people who received the injections.
Earlier on Friday, a Dutch organization that monitors vaccine side effects said it had received five reports of blood clots with low platelet counts after vaccinations. The DPA news agency reported that one person has died.
All cases occurred between 7 and 10 days after vaccinations and all affected were women aged 25 to 65.
Investigations are underway to determine if they were caused by the vaccination.
The vaccine watchdog organization said that during the period in which the five cases were reported, some 400,000 people in the Netherlands had been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca bite.
According to the Minister of Health, Hugo de Jonge, the temporary shutdown is a precautionary measure.
“I think it is very important that the Dutch reports are also properly investigated,” said de Jonge. “We have to be careful.”
Saturday’s decision is another setback for the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is essential for the European vaccination campaign and a pillar of the global strategy to get vaccines to poorer countries because it is cheaper and easier to use. than rival vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.
It comes two weeks after the European Union’s medicines regulator said the vaccine does not increase the overall incidence of blood clots due to a similar fear.
At the time, the European Medicines Agency said the benefits of vaccination outweighed the risks, but that it could not rule out a link between shooting and some unusual types of clots, and recommended the ‘added a warning about possible rare side effects.
De Jonge said the Dutch break comes ahead of an update next week from the European Medicines Agency on the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Most EU countries, including Germany, resumed use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 19.