BERLIN (AP) – A number of German states on Tuesday suspended AstraZeneca filming following new reports of an unusual blood clot in people under the age of 60, prompting Chancellor Angela Merkel to hold an emergency meeting on continued use of the coronavirus vaccine.
The news is the latest blow to the vaccine, which is crucial to Europe’s immunization campaign, a key part of the global strategy to film poor countries. It comes less than two weeks after the EU drug regulator said the vaccine did not increase the overall incidence of blood clots after such fears. The European Medicines Agency said at the time that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks, but that this could not rule out a link between the shot and some unusual blood clots, and advised raising the risk of rare side effects.
Authorities in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the largest state in Berlin, Munich and Brandenburg, have decided to temporarily stop vaccinating teenagers after the country’s medical regulator announced that it had received additional reports of unusual blood tissue in the head, the latest AstraZeneca vaccine as sinus vein thrombosis. Together, these areas are home to almost a third of the German population.
The Paul Ehrlich Institute reports that as of March 29, a total of 31 such thrombi had been reported in the 2.7 million doses of AstraZeneca administered throughout Germany. Nine of the men died, all but two of whom were women between the ages of 20 and 63.
The suspensions come as Germany, along with other European countries, seeks to improve its vaccine program, which lags far behind those of Britain and the United States. On Monday, about 13.2 million people in the country received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 4.8 received two shots.
The AstraZeneca vaccine was temporarily discontinued in several European countries earlier this month due to concerns about rare blood tissue. Many EU countries, including Germany, resumed use of the vaccine on March 19 after being reviewed by medical experts from the European Medicines Agency.
On Monday, Canada stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine in people under the age of 55, citing worrying new data from Europe.
“There is considerable uncertainty about the benefits of providing AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to adults over the age of 55, given the potential risks,” said Dr. Shelley Dix, Chair of the National Advisory Council on Immunization in Canada.
Dix noted that the updated proposals come amid new data from Europe, which suggests that the risk of blood clots may now reach one in 100,000, which is much higher than the previously believed million risk.
Two state hospitals in Berlin announced on Tuesday that they had stopped the AstraZeneca vaccine for female employees under the age of 55. The heads of five German university hospitals in Germany have called for a temporary halt to the vaccine for all young women, citing a blood clot. risk:
Dilek Kalaichi, a senior health official in the state of Berlin, said the suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine was a precautionary measure for younger people.
“We have not had any serious side effects in Berlin yet,” he said, adding that anyone who has already received an AstraZeneca shot can be sure that it is a good defense against the coronavirus.
“Nevertheless, we must take it seriously, wait for negotiations at the federal level,” Kalaychi said.
The decision could affect the appointments of tens of thousands of formerly qualified teachers who have recently been invited to be vaccinated in the German capital. AstraZeneca staff appointments were available sooner than for Pfizer-BioNTech և Moderna vaccines.
The German news agency dpa quoted the speaker of Munich, the country’s third largest city, as saying that the suspension of AstraZeneca vaccinations for people under 60 would “until the possible complications of vaccines for this group of people are resolved.”
This week, researchers at the University of Greifswald in Germany published the results of a study on the possible causes of blood clots, saying that the condition is similar to the side effects observed in some patients receiving heparin-thinning drugs.
The study, which has not yet been reviewed by peers, does not provide a definitive explanation for why some people vaccinated with AstraZeneca have rare thrombi. Still, experts who were not involved in the study said that it provided useful information to doctors.
Alice Assinger, a specialist in vascular disease and blood clot research at the Medical University of Vienna, says there is a cure for thrombosis.
But Berndz Salzberg, an infectious disease specialist at Regensburg University Hospital in Germany, warned that the overall risk of dying from COVID-19 in young women could be as high as the risk of developing a serious blood clot.
“That’s why the AstraZeneca vaccine should be used mainly in the elderly,” he said.
Some other European countries are still hesitant to fire AstraZeneca at older adults. Residents between the ages of 60 and 65 in Madrid began receiving the vaccine before the age of 66-79 on Tuesday, as Spanish authorities have not yet studied new data provided by AstraZeneca on how well it works in the older age group.
Spain currently uses Pfizer-BioNTech և Moderna vaccines for people over 80 years of age.
Spanish health officials say they hope to speed up the spread of the vaccine with the appearance of a cavity developed by Jan Onsen և, a subsidiary of John Onson’s subsidiary, which has also been approved for use in Europe, requiring only one shot.
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