AstraZeneca is defending its COVID vaccine after more countries suspended its use over health concerns. The company said Sunday night that its own review of more than 17 million inoculations found no increased risk of blood clots, reports Reuters. Major health agencies including the World Health Organization and European Medicines Agency agree that AstraZeneca shots are safe and urge countries to continue administering them, notes CNBC. The vaccine is not yet approved for use in the US, though it's in use throughout Europe, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere. Over the weekend, the Netherlands and Ireland joined the list of nations that have at least partially suspended use. Others are Italy, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Latvia, per NPR. Thailand, on the other hand, had paused shots but plans to resume them this week.
“A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and UK with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country,” the company said in a statement. The company found 15 events of deep vein thrombosis and 22 events of pulmonary embolism, figures it says are not out of line for a sample size of 17 million. Dutch and Irish officials paused shots as a precautionary step after Norway's Medicines Agency reported that three health workers were being treated for clotting issues after receiving the vaccine, per CNBC. (In the US, spring-breakers are causing some concern in Florida.)