They described the move as a precautionary measure pending a decision by the European Medicines Authority (EMA), which had greenlighted the use of the vaccine in the European Union (EU) on Jan. 29.
"The EMA is to give its opinion tomorrow afternoon. The decision that was taken (by France), in accordance with our European policy, is to suspend as a precaution the vaccination with AstraZeneca, hoping to resume it as soon as possible if the opinion is favorable," French President Emmanuel Macron said.
The Italian Pharmaceutical Agency (AIFA) said its "temporary and precautionary" ban on the vaccine followed the death of a music professor in the northern Piedmont region after he was given an AstraZeneca shot. A probe on this case has been opened in the city of Biella.
On Thursday, AIFA had already suspended one specific lot of AstraZeneca (ABV2856) in connection with another fatality, that of a soldier who had suffered from a heart attack a few hours after being vaccinated.
— Centro de Documentación Europea de Almería (@cdeualmeria)
March 16, 2021
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that it was still conducting its safety review of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press briefing in Geneva that its Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety is in close contact with the EMA and will meet on Tuesday.
Previously, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, and Iceland have already fully or partially suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports of suspected deaths from blood clots after vaccinations.
#FromTheSouth News Bits | Austrian Chancellor criticizes the European Union vaccines delivery strategy, defending his country’s decision to temporarily stop using one batch of AstraZeneca and emphasizing that "differences among the member states will increase.” pic.twitter.com/uA45VCRmPO