European countries – including Denmark, Norway, Austria, Italy and Iceland – have suspended use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab after reports of blood clots in vaccinated people.
The European Medicines Agency is now launching an investigation but at present there is no firm evidence to suggest the two are linked and incidents of clotting have not been reported in the UK.
Denmark, Norway and Iceland have suspended the rollout of the vaccine, while Italy and Austria have stopped using a certain batch as a precaution.
The Danish Health and Medicines Authority said the rollout out of the jab would be paused for at least 14 days while investigations are carried out.
They did not say how many reports of blood clots there had been.
“It is currently not possible to conclude whether there is a link. We are acting early, it needs to be thoroughly investigated,” Danish health minister Magnus Heunicke said on Twitter.
Søren Brostrøm, director of the National Board of Health, added: “It is important to emphasise that we have not opted out of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but that we are putting it on hold.
“There is good evidence that the vaccine is both safe and effective.”
Professor Anthony Harnden, from the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations, told Sky News there is no reason to doubt the safety of the jab in the UK.
He said: “People shouldn’t be worried, we have given 11 million doses and our regulator reviews the safety reports as they come in.”
He said evidence to suggest there was more instances of blood clots in the vaccinated population, than the general population “just isn’t there”.
He added it is already known that COVID can cause “quite severe blood clots”.
And Dr Phil Bryan, MHRA Vaccines Safety Lead said: “The Danish authorities’ action to temporarily suspend use of the vaccine is precautionary whilst they investigate.
“Reports of blood clots received so far are not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population.”
It comes as Austrian authorities said they were halting the use of a batch of the vaccine after two people also developed clots.
The first person developed multiple thrombosis (formation of blood clots within blood vessels) and died 10 days after vaccination, while another was hospitalised with pulmonary embolism (blockage in arteries in the lungs) but is now recovering.
Two further cases linked to the batch were also reported.
(Read more at: https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-blood-clot-reports-in-europe-prompt-investigation-into-oxford-astrazeneca-vaccine-12242530)