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Denmark becomes first country in Europe to ditch AstraZeneca vaccine

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr

Denmark has announced that it is abandoning the AstraZeneca vaccine, the first European country to do so, amid concerns about very rare but serious blood clots. The rollout of the vaccine has run into problems in several countries, with its use either temporarily suspended or restricted to older age groups.

When concerns first arose over the vaccine’s rare side-effects, Denmark was the first country in Europe to suspend its use. In Thailand, use of the vaccine was suspended last month, before officials judged it safe to proceed, with Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul going on to confirm it would become the Kingdom’s primary Covid-19 vaccine.

Both the European drugs regulator and the World Health Organisation are standing by the jab, saying the benefits outweigh the risks. However, health officials in Denmark have now decided to ditch it for good.

“Denmark’s vaccination campaign will go ahead without the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

Denmark has reported 2 cases of thrombosis (blood clotting) linked to administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine, one of which proved fatal. The blood clot incidents arose after 140,000 people had received the jab. The Bangkok Post reports that 8% of Denmark’s 5.8 million inhabitants have been fully vaccinated and 17% have received their first dose.

The country plans to continue its rollout using the Modern and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. Officials say they are confident that the availability of other jabs, coupled with the fact that Covid-19 is relatively under control in Denmark, means the country’s mass inoculation can continue without issue.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has released a statement acknowledging the decision taken by Danish health authorities.

“We recognise and respect the decision taken by the Danish Health Authority. Implementation and rollout of the vaccine programme is a matter for each country to decide, based on local conditions. We will continue to collaborate with the regulators and local authorities to provide all available data to inform their decisions.”

SOURCE: Euro News | Bangkok Post

 

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    John_2

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 10:52 am

    The J & J and AstraZeneca Vaccine have been stopped in many places, others are said to be ineffective against new strains. There is talk now of vaccine brand mixing one shot of one brand first, and another for the second. Thailand again is behind the curve dreaming that the vaccine is a fix all instead of adhering to their original policy of lockdowns and blocking tourism. I fear there will be a price to pay for the switch in policy.

  2. Avatar

    Geoff

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    Seems a bit extreme. What will they do if their other vax show a small problem as time passes? J & J already shows same. Knee jerk? Politics?

  3. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    With an apparent 10% efficacy against the S African and Brazil variants, why bother with AZ?

    It’s gone from looking like the vaccine of choice to being the one to avoid.

    • Avatar

      Isaan farang

      Friday, April 16, 2021 at 1:21 am

      Despite what you may see in the media headlines, to date, there is not a variant present that has escaped either disease- or vaccine- induced immunity (fully vaccinated being 14 days post second dose)

  4. Avatar

    richard barker

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    But Denmark only has a population of not quite 6 million. That being the case they would easily replace Astra Zeneca vaccine with something else. A country like Thailand has little chance of doing this. Need to get things in perspective. Some of these stories are there because they are newsworthy only and are unhelpful in convincing people to get the vaccine. Understand that news is news but !

  5. Avatar

    E

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    Some important notes about the decision:

    1. The rare side-effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine is not “regular” blood clots (which are typically seen from for example physical inactivity and a range of other factors), but a rare kind of blood clots that science had not documented until now, named VITT (Vaccine induced Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia), which concurrently causes a low blood platelet count. VITT has an apparent fatality rate of 1 in 5 – and a significant impact on quality of life for those who survive. If treated like regular blood clots, the result can be fatal as well due to the low platelet count.

    2. Denmark and Norway cooperated in their analysis of the data and results. The report has not yet been made publicly available. According to the results, the risk of VITT were 1 in 40.000 vaccinations based on data from both countries, but there is a large uncertainty due to the rarity of VITT and limited sample size. The decision is however based on that data.

    3. Denmark has already vaccinated most of its elderly and high-risk population. Due to this and the low amount of sars-cov-2 infections in the country at the moment, the risk of fatalities from covid-19 due to not using the AstraZeneca vaccine (thereby delaying the overall vaccine rollout by a few weeks) is currently lower than the risk of VITT. If the amount of infections in Denmark rises significantly, it may be necessary to include the vaccine in the programme again.

  6. Avatar

    Alan

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    Just 2 cases !
    Probably a higher percentage got thrombosis while flying SAS

  7. Avatar

    Ray

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    Yes, Denmark can afford to do this because of the small population. The risk of dying from blood cloth complications only occurs in women younger than sixty and is less than being struck by lightning. The risk of dying of Covid-19 is much much higher. Just because there are other vaccines and some governments want to be re-elected they are ditching AZ all together. The ultimate balance will be that because of the delay there will be more deaths and economic damage done.

  8. Avatar

    TS

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 7:58 am

    so right now its sino vacc only in Thailand?

  9. Avatar

    TS

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    just read-their going ahead with AZ as the main vacc

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