Several health authorities in Germany announced Tuesday that they are again suspending the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine for residents under age 60 amid fresh reports of unusual blood clots in people who recently received the shots.
Officials in Berlin, Munich and the eastern state of Brandenburg took the decision to temporarily halt vaccinations ahead of a meeting later Tuesday of representatives from Germany’s 16 states.
The country’s medical regulator said it had received a total of 31 reports of rare blood clots in recent recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine by March 29. Nine of the people died and all but two of the cases involved women aged 20 to 63, the Paul Ehrlich Institute said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her health minister, Jens Spahn, planned to hold a news conference late Tuesday on the outcome of their meeting with the states.
Reports of an unusual form of blood clot in the head, known as sinus vein thrombosis, prompted several European countries to temporarily halt the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this month. After a review by medical experts, the European Medicines Agency concluded the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks.
At the same time, the agency recommended that warnings about possible rare side effects should be provided to patients and doctors. Most European Union countries, including Germany, resumed use of the vaccine.
On Monday, Canada suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in people under 55, citing new concerning data from Europe. SOVEREIGNPH