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Factbox-Some countries limit AstraZeneca vaccine use, U.S. pauses J&J shot

FILE PHOTO: A health official draws a dose of the AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, at Infectious Diseases Hospital in Colombo

(Reuters) – Some countries are restricting use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to certain age groups, or suspending use, after European and British regulators confirmed possible links to rare blood clots.

Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine has also been hit by concerns over blood clots. European regulators are reviewing such cases and are expected to issue findings on April 20. U.S. federal health agencies recommended pausing its use temporarily on April 13 and a U.S. health advisory panel will meet on April 23 to discuss whether the pause should continue.

J&J has stated that no clear causal relationship has been established between the clots and its vaccine.

The developments pose a risk to vaccination plans in Europe, where authorities have so far maintained that the benefits of the AstraZeneca and J&J shots outweigh risks.

As of April 4, the European Medicines Agency had received reports of 169 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, after 34 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been given in the European Economic Area. Canada and Australia have also reported some cases.

ASTRAZENECA VACCINE BEING USED, WITH OR WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS

AUSTRALIA

Said on April 8 it recommends people under 50 should get Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in preference to that of AstraZeneca.

AUSTRIA

Has resumed use.

BRAZIL

Authorities said they would not limit use of the vaccine, saying benefits outweigh risks.

BRITAIN

Vaccination committee has said an alternative should be given for people under 30 where possible, but people should continue to have a second shot if they have received a first dose of the vaccine.

BULGARIA

Resumed inoculations on March 19.

CYPRUS

Resumed vaccinations from March 19.

CANADA

Authorities said in early April they would pause offering the vaccine to people under 55 and require a new analysis of the shot.

ESTONIA

Suspended use of the vaccine for people under 60 on April 7.

FRANCE

Approved resumption of the vaccine on March 19 but said it should be given only to people aged 55 and over. On April 9, recommended that recipients of a first dose of the AstraZeneca shot who are under 55 should receive a second dose with a messenger RNA vaccine.

FINLAND

Resumed using the AstraZeneca vaccine from March 29 for people aged 65 and over.

GEORGIA

Limited use of the vaccine following the death of a nurse, and vaccinations will continue only in full-fledged medical centres, Russian news agency TASS reported on March 19.

GERMANY

On March 31, issued guidance to limit use of the vaccine to those aged over 60. On April 1, vaccine commission recommended people under 60 who have had a first shot of the vaccine should receive a different product for their second dose.

HUNGARY

Continuing the vaccine’s rollout.

ICELAND

Resumed use on March 25 after suspending it on March 11.

INDONESIA

Resumed using the vaccine on March 22 but warned against its use in people with a low blood platelet count.

IRELAND

On April 12, the country said it was restricting use of the vaccine to those over 60.

ITALY

Has recommended the vaccine be used only for people over 60, the country’s top health adviser said.

LATVIA

Resumed administering the vaccine from March 19.

LITHUANIA

Restarted use on March 19.

MEXICO

Drug regulator Cofepris said on April 7 it did not “at this time” plan to limit the vaccine’s use but was investigating the information raised by Britain.

NETHERLANDS

Limited use of the vaccine to people over 60, the government said on April 8.

NORTH MACEDONIA

Health minister said on March 31 the vaccine would be limited to people aged over 60 as a precautionary measure.

PHILIPPINES

Will resume administering the vaccine to people below 60 years of age, health officials said on Monday after having temporarily suspended use on April 8. [nL1N2MC0AK]

ROMANIA

Has resumed use of the vaccine after temporarily stopping use of one batch on March 11.

SOUTH KOREA

Resumed use of the shot for people aged 30 or older on April 12. On April 7, had suspended providing the shot to people under 60.

SPAIN

From April 8, it was giving the vaccine only to people over 60.

SWEDEN

Resumed use of the vaccine on March 25 for people aged 65 and older.

THAILAND

Began use on March 15 after delaying rollout the week before.

COUNTRIES WHERE ASTRAZENECA VACCINE USE IS SUSPENDED

CAMEROON

Suspended administration of the vaccine it was scheduled to receive on March 20 as part of the global vaccines-sharing scheme COVAX, the health ministry said.

DENMARK

In a world first, Denmark decided to stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine altogether on April 14 after initially suspending use. On Monday, Ritzau news agency reported that authorities said it may be possible for people to have the vaccine if they wish.

NORWAY

Will take more time to assess whether to resume use of the vaccine. While Norway’s Institute of Public Health recommended ending use of the shot, the government needs more information before making a final call. Norway had suspended the rollout on March 11.

J&J VACCINE DELAYS AND RESTRICTIONS

UNITED STATES

On April 13, U.S. federal health agencies recommended pausing use of J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine for at least a few days after six women under the age of 50 developed rare blood clots after receiving the shot.

On April 15, U.S. CDC advisory panel decided to delay a vote to April 23 on how best to use the J&J shot.

EUROPEAN UNION

AstraZeneca said it would delay the rollout of the vaccine to Europe, after regulators said they were reviewing rare blood clots.

Widespread use in the EU had not yet started after the company began delivering the doses in the week beginning April 12. The European drug regulator recommended storing doses already received until its safety committee issues an expedited recommendation

On April 15, Poland started administering the J&J shot with drug office representatives saying benefits outweigh potential risks, while Belgium has delayed the start of vaccine administering at the company’s request.

SOUTH AFRICA

Suspended use of J&J’s vaccine on April 13.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka, Yadarisa Shabong, Manas Mishra, Vishwadha Chander, Amruta Khandekar and Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; editing by Josephine Mason and Mark Heinrich)

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