Denmark has completely stopped administering the AstraZeneca vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
This is the same vaccine that Ghana had already received 600,000 doses “free-of-charge” and is expected several million more doses as the time for the second shot nears.
Danish officials said that all 2.4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be withdrawn until further notice.
The reason is that the vaccine has been linked with deadly blood clots in recipients and has already resulted in some deaths across Europe and in Denmark.
The Danish Health Authority said studies had shown a higher than expected frequency of blood clots following doses, affecting about one in 40,000 people.
It comes after two cases of thrombosis in Denmark were linked to vaccinations. Reportedly, one of the cases, in a 60-year-old woman, was fatal.
Denmark is the first European country to completely withdraw the vaccine even as the EU has been criticized over a slow rollout of vaccination.
The move is expected to delay the country’s vaccination programme by several weeks, reports the BBC.
Director-General Soren Brostrom said it had been a “difficult decision” but Denmark had other vaccines available and the epidemic there was currently under control.
Drug watchdog the European Medicines Agency last week announced a possible link with clots but said the risk of dying of Covid-19 was much greater.
Several European countries had previously briefly suspended the jab.
Most have now resumed vaccinations with AstraZeneca, but often with limits to older age groups.
On Tuesday, the US, Canada and the European Union paused the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for similar reasons over clotting.
South Africa has also paused its use, despite the Johnson & Johnson being its preferred vaccine because of its effectiveness against the South African variant.
For both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, the blood clot side effects are extremely rare, reports the BBC.