Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Blood-clot fears delay AstraZeneca vaccine roll-out

More than a dozen countries, including France, Italy and Germany, have suspended AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 shots because of fears over blood clots and other possible side effects. The company insists there is no risk, and World Health Organisation (WHO) experts recommend the continued use of the vaccine, but the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was set to meet yesterday to decide on “further actions”.

On 1 March, Denmark became the first country to say it would suspend use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a precautionary measure over fears of blood clots in vaccinated people. 

Iceland and Norway followed and announced they were temporarily suspending its use.

Austria stopped using a batch on 8 March after the death of a 49-year-old nurse from “severe bleeding disorders” days after receiving it. 

Several other countries also suspended the use of doses from the same batch of one million vaccines, which has been delivered to 17 countries.

Last week, Bulgaria suspended the use of the vaccine as it investigates the death of a woman with several underlying conditions who recently received the jab. An initial probe had suggested the woman died from heart failure and an autopsy found no link with the vaccine.

Thailand briefly delayed the start of its roll-out, but Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha received the jab on Tuesday. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was also due to start administering doses, postponed its campaign, citing “precautionary measures”. 

Ireland and the Netherlands joined the list on Sunday. 

Indonesia on Monday said it would “delay” the rollout, pending a WHO review into blood-clot fears.

In a major development, the German health ministry announced it too is halting the jabs, saying a closer look is necessary. President Emmanuel Macron followed, saying France would suspend use, pending a decision on the vaccine’s safety by the EMA.

Italy then added itself to the list, as did Slovenia, Spain, Latvia and Venezuela. Also on Monday, a health worker in Norway died of a brain haemorrhage after receiving the vaccine, though no direct link to the jab has been established.

On Wednesday Lithuania followed the example of Sweden, Luxembourg and Cyprus by also suspending the use of the vaccine.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse works from worldwide. AFP Photo's official Twitter account. Tweeting news and features from Agence France-Presse's global photo network Agence France Presse has over 120540 followers on Twitter.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Basic web lessons for South Africa: Government hacks point to...

Recent cyberattacks at the department of justice and the space agency highlight the extent of our naïveté

If the inflation-driving supply strain in the US lasts, it...

In South Africa, a strong trade surplus, buoyed by robust commodity prices, will cushion our economy against pressure arising from US policy

More top stories

Almost two million voters register for local elections

Young people make use of online portal and women account for more than half of the total registered

Free State regions cry foul after dissolution by interim provincial...

Regional ANC leaders have asked Duarte to intervene after the interim provincial committee resolved to dissolve their branches ahead of local government elections

ANC unlikely to replace Joburg mayor Matongo before 1 Nov

A party source said the ANC in Johannesburg would most likely call on one of the mayoral committee members to stand in as mayor until the local elections

Ramaphosa hits the right notes as he urges Cosatu to...

Cosatu meets to deliberate on its support for the governing party in the upcoming local government elections

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…