(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.
The findings pose a risk to vaccination plans in Europe.
European Union health ministers failed on Wednesday to agree common guidance on use of the shot. Regulators say its benefits outweigh risks.
Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca said it was working with regulators to list the possible brain blood clots as “an extremely rare potential side effect” on the vaccines labels.
As of April 4, the European Medicines Agency had received reports of 169 cases of a rare brain blood clot known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), after 34 million doses had been administered in the European Economic Area – the EU plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. Most cases were in women under 60 years of age.
VACCINE BEING USED, WITH OR WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS
Said on Thursday it now recommends people under 50 should get Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in preference to AstraZeneca’s shot.
Has resumed use.
Authorities said they would not limit use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying benefits outweigh risks.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has said an alternative to the vaccine should be given for under people under 30 where possible, but people should continue to have a second shot if they have received a first dose.
Resumed inoculations from March 19.
Resumed inoculations on March 19.
Authorities said last week they would pause offering the vaccine to people under 55 and require a new analysis of the shot’s benefits and risks based on age and gender.
Suspended use of the vaccine for people under 60 on Wednesday.
Approved resumed use of the vaccine on March 19, but said it should be given only to people aged 55 and over.
Resumed using the AstraZeneca vaccine from March 29, but only for people aged 65 and over.
Has limited use of the vaccine following the death of a nurse from anaphylactic shock, and vaccinations will continue only in full-fledged medical centres, Russian news agency TASS reported on March 19.
Sticking to its guidance from March 31 to limit use of the vaccine to those aged over 60. On April 1, Germany’s vaccine commission recommended people under 60 who have had a first shot of the vaccine should receive a different product for their second dose.
Continuing the vaccine’s rollout.
Resumed use on March 25 after suspending it on March 11.
Resumed using the vaccine on March 22 but warned against its use in people with a low blood platelet count.
Has resumed use.
Has recommended the vaccine be used only for people over 60, the country’s top health adviser said.
Announced it was restarting administering the shots from March 19.
Restarted use on March 19.
Drug regulator Cofepris said on Wednesday it did not “at this time” plan to limit the vaccine’s use but was investigating the information raised by Britain.
Using the vaccine only for over 60s.
Health minister said on March 31 the vaccine would be limited to people aged over 60 as a precautionary measure.
Suspended use of the vaccine for people under 60 on Thursday.
Has resumed use of the vaccine after temporarily stopping vaccinating people with one batch of the vaccine on March 11.
President Moon Jae-in received the vaccine on March 23 as the country inoculates senior citizens and health workers.
From Thursday it is giving the vaccine only to people over 60.
Resumed use of the vaccine on March 25 for people aged 65 and older, but restrictions are in place for Swedes under 65.
Began use on March 15 after delaying rollout the week before.
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.
Prolonged its suspension of the shot by three weeks pending further investigations after a two-week pause ended on March 25.
Authorities said on March 26 Norway would delay a decision on use of the vaccine, with a decision expected by April 15.
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka, Yadarisa Shabong, Manas Mishra, Vishwadha Chander, Amruta Khandekar and Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Josephine Mason, Alison Williams and Timothy Heritage)