Factbox: Some countries limit AstraZeneca vaccine use amid concern over rare blood clots

(Reuters) – Some countries are restricting use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 while others have resumed inoculations, as investigations into reports of rare, and sometimes severe, blood clots continue.

FILE PHOTO: A vial of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is pictured, as Spain resumes vaccination with AstraZeneca shots after a temporary suspension, at Enfermera Isabel Zendal hospital in Madrid, Spain, March 24, 2021. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have said the benefits of the shot outweigh the risks, but are monitoring the developing situation as more cases are reported.

AstraZeneca, an Anglo-Swedish company, said earlier in March its vaccine was 76% effective in preventing symptomatic coronavirus infections in a U.S. trial, and that studies did not indicate higher risks of clotting.

Below are two lists in alphabetical order: the first shows countries and regions which have resumed using the vaccine – some with restrictions by age – after the investigations, and the second lists shows suspensions still in place.

VACCINE BEING USED

AUSTRALIA:

The Therapeutic Goods Administration said on Wednesday a link between the vaccine and clot disorders had not been proven but that it was still investigating the issue as vaccinations continue.

BULGARIA:

Resumed inoculations from March 19.

CYPRUS:

Cyprus, which suspended the vaccine on March 15, resumed inoculations on March 19.

CANADA:

To pause offering vaccine to people aged under 55 and require a new analysis of the shot’s benefits and risks based on age and gender.

FRANCE:

Medical regulator approved the resumed use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine on March 19, but said it should only be given to people aged 55 and older.

FINLAND:

Resumed using the AstraZeneca vaccine from March 29, but will only give it to people aged 65 and over.

GEORGIA:

Has limited the use of the vaccine after a nurse died of anaphylactic shock, and vaccinations will continue only in full-fledged medical centres, news agency TASS reported on March 19.

GERMANY:

From March 31, Germany will limit use of the shot to people over 60 years and high-priority groups, following further reports of a rare brain blood disorder.

ICELAND:

Resumed use on March 25 after suspending it on March 11 pending investigations into reports that it might be linked to blood clots.

INDONESIA:

Resumed using the vaccine on March 22 but warned against the use of the vaccine in people with a low blood platelet count.

IRELAND:

Plans to resume rollout of the vaccine for all those aged 18 and over in “the coming days”, a committee said on March 19, after suspending it on March 14.

ITALY:

Resumed using the vaccine on March 19, and Italians who decline to be inoculated with it will be given an alternative later on.

LATVIA:

Also said it would restart administering the shots from March 19.

LITHUANIA:

Restarted administering the vaccine on March 19, currently for over 65-year-olds only.

NETHERLANDS:

The health minister said on March 18 that the country would resume using the vaccine that week.

NORTH MACEDONIA:

Health Minister Venko Filipce said on March 31 that AstraZeneca shots would be limited to people aged over 60 as a precautionary measure.

SOUTH KOREA:

President Moon Jae-in received the vaccine on March 23 ahead of an overseas trip, as the country inoculates senior citizens and health workers.

SPAIN:

Spain said on March 30 it would use the vaccine for people aged 55-65, and a day later said it would extend the vaccination to essential workers over 65 years old.

SWEDEN:

Resumed use of the vaccine on March 25 for people aged 65 and older, its health agency said, but restrictions are in place for Swedes under 65 years.

THAILAND:

Began use on March 15, with Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha becoming the first to be inoculated, after Thailand delayed rollout the week before.

VACCINE USE SUSPENDED

AUSTRIA:

Suspended use of one batch of the vaccine on March 7 after the death of one person and the illness of another.

CAMEROON:

Suspended administration of the vaccine it was scheduled to receive on March 20 as part of the global vaccines sharing scheme COVAX, the health ministry said.

DENMARK:

Will prolong its suspension of the shot by three weeks pending further investigations after its two-week pause ended on March 25. A local survey indicated that one in three Danes would decline to get the shot.

NORWAY:

Norway will delay a decision over the use of the vaccine, authorities said on March 26, with a decision expected by April 15.

ROMANIA:

Temporarily stopped vaccinating people with one batch of the vaccine on March 11.

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