Several European countries have paused the deployment of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. They are complaining about the vaccine causing dangerous blot clots in recipients.
Iceland, Austria and Norway have suspended the use of the vaccine, while in Germany and France, the citizens are simply refusing to take the vaccine because of its alleged dangerous side effect.
South Africa has also suspended the use of the vaccine when it discovered that its efficacy was extremely poor against the COVID-19 virus variant in the country.
Meanwhile, Ghana has already taken delivery of over 600,000 of the vaccine, donated to it “free-of-charge” by the vaccine developers.
Ghana is expected to take delivery of millions of doses of the vaccine in the next weeks. The Ghanaian government is allaying the fears of its citizens, but the reports coming from other countries may not help much in keeping the fears at bay.
Denmark announced today (Thursday, March 11, 2021) that it will temporarily suspend the use of the vaccine after someone reportedly died after receiving the second dose of the vaccine.
The Danish Health Authority said it would temporarily stop using the shot in its vaccination program as a precaution “after reports of severe cases of blood clots in people who have been vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca.”
“Against this background, the European Medicines Agency has launched an investigation into the AstraZeneca vaccine. One report relates to a death in Denmark. At present, it cannot be concluded whether there is a link between the vaccine and the blood clots,” the health authority said in a statement.
It did not specify how many reports of blood clots there had been, or where they had originated.
The announcement comes after a similar move in Austria at the start of the week, where authorities are investigating the death of one person and the illness of another after they received doses of the vaccine.
Shares of AstraZeneca on the London market slipped 2.4% on Thursday morning following the announcement.
A spokesperson for AstraZeneca said the company was aware of the statement made by the Danish Health Authority that it’s currently investigating potential adverse effects related to the vaccine.
“Patient safety is the highest priority for AstraZeneca. Regulators have clear and stringent efficacy and safety standards for the approval of any new medicine, and that includes COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. The safety of the vaccine has been extensively studied in Phase III clinical trials and Peer-reviewed data confirms the vaccine is generally well-tolerated,” AstraZeneca said in a statement.
Late-stage clinical trials found the AstraZeneca-Oxford shot to have an average efficacy of 70% in protecting against the virus, but in South Africa, the reports were that the vaccine was less than 20% effective against the virus.