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News > Italy

Another Six European Nations Hit Pause on Astrazeneca Vaccine

  • People wearing face masks talk in Rome, Italy, March 4, 2021.

    People wearing face masks talk in Rome, Italy, March 4, 2021. | Photo: Xinhua

Published 16 March 2021

So far, 17 European countries have suspended the use of this vaccine in precaution of its possible side effects.

France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, and Cyprus on Monday suspended the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine over blood clot concerns.


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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.

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.

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