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Netherlands suspends use of AstraZeneca vaccine

The Netherlands has joined the Irish Republic, Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, and Iceland in suspending the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia have delayed the beginning of the vaccine rollout whereas Italy and Austria have suspended the use of certain batches as a precautionary measure. This is due to concerns about possible side effects, notably abnormal blood clotting. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) state that there is no indication of a link between the vaccine and blood clots.

The WHO told Reuters that it was critical that vaccination campaigns continue, however, more than eight countries have halted the distribution of the vaccine. The WHO allegedly stated that it was normal for countries to signal potential adverse events, furthering that this should not deter other countries from completing milestones for vaccine distribution. Although it is good practice to investigate the potential side effects, according to the WHO they are likely not linked to vaccination. Roughly 17 million people in the EU and UK received a dose of the vaccine, and fewer than 40 cases of blood clots were reported as of last week, according to AstraZeneca. The Dutch government’s suspension will last until at least March 29 as a precaution.

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