Germany, France, and Italy on Monday became the latest countries to suspend use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine over reports of dangerous blood clots in some recipients, though the company and European regulators have said there is no evidence the shot is to blame. Germany's health minister said the decision was taken on the advice of the country's vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, which called for further investigation into seven reported cases of clots in the brains of people who had been vaccinated, the AP reports. "Today’s decision is a purely precautionary measure," Jens Spahn said. French President Emmanuel Macron said his country would likewise suspend shots at least until Tuesday afternoon, when the European Union's drug regulatory agency will weigh in on the vaccine.
Italy’s medicines regulator also announced a precautionary, temporary ban. AstraZeneca said on its website that there have been 37 reports of blood clots out of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the 27-country European Union and Britain. The drugmaker says there is no evidence the vaccine carries an increased risk of clots. In fact, it says, the incidence of clots is much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size. Denmark last week became the first country to temporarily halt use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in recent days to investigate. It said one person developed clots and died 10 days after receiving at least one dose. The other countries include Ireland, Thailand, the Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, Congo, and Bulgaria.
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