Another setback for the troubled European Union COVID vaccination campaign: Denmark has become the first country to permanently stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine because of a link to rare cases of blood clots, reports Reuters. Danish Health Authority director Soren Brostroem said Wednesday there there is a "real risk of side effects" and the vaccine from the Anglo-Swedish company is being removed from the country's vaccination program, per MarketWatch. Brostroem said Denmark has the pandemic largely under control, with many of the older people most at risk of severe illness already vaccinated. It also has supplies of other COVID vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.
Brostroem said the decision should be seen in the context of the situation in Denmark and he would not hesitate to continue using the vaccine if the country was in "a completely different situation and in the midst of a violent third outbreak." Health authorities say the move will delay the completion of Denmark's vaccination program from late July until early August, though Reuters notes that target will depend on whether the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has also been linked to blood clots, is approved. The New York Times reports that Denmark first suspended use of the two-dose AstraZeneca vaccine on March 11. Authorities say those who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered a different vaccine for their second shot. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)