Dutch press ahead with AstraZeneca vaccine; it is safe, minister says

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Netherlands is pressing ahead with use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus, health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Thursday, in the wake of Denmark’s decision to stop temporarily.

‘According to our experts, there is no reason to stop,’ De Jonge told reporters. ‘It is a good vaccine.’

Denmark said earlier on Thursday it has stopped using the vaccine for at least two weeks pending further investigation after several people developed blood clots and one person is thought to have died.

The Danish authorities have said it is not clear that there is a link between the clots and the vaccine but that there has been a ‘rare but possible side effect’ linked to a drug ‘for which there is good evidence that it safe and effective is.’

On Sunday, the Austrian regulator stopped the use of a specific batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine because of problems with blood clots.

However, the Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency said earlier this week the preliminary view of its safety committee is that there is no specific issue with the batch of AstraZeneca vaccine in Austria.

The Netherlands has recorded one instance of someone given the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine developing thrombosis but it was not a serious case and the person was not hospitalized, the Dutch medical side affects monitor Lareb told broadcaster NOS on Thursday.

Vaccines from that batch were delivered to 17 EU countries including the Netherlands and Denmark. In total, there have been 22 cases of thrombosis among the three million people in the EU who have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, broadcaster NOS said.

In the Netherlands, 264,000 people have so far been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, and that total is set to reach 1.6 million by the end of the month. The vaccine in the Netherlands is being given to healthcare workers, people aged 60 to 64, people with Down’s syndrome and morbid obesity.

Note: This article was updated to reflect the minister’s comments

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