Several African countries suspend use of UK’s AstraZeneca vaccine
Several African nations have suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine that is produced in Britain, citing fears over potential side effects.
Over a dozen European countries stopped administering the AstraZeneca vaccine this week following reports that it could lead to potentially dangerous blood clots.
The European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization (WHO) are currently investigating the reports.
Twenty-five African countries have been supplied with AstraZeneca vaccines through COVAX, a joint initiative from WHO and the international vaccine alliance GAVI.
A growing number of European countries — including Germany, France, Italy and Spain — have suspended use of the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The escalating concern is another setback for the European Union's vaccination drive, which has been plagued by shortages and other hurdles and is lagging well behind other developed nations, The Associated Press reported.
AstraZeneca said there have been 37 reports of blood clots out of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the 27-country EU and Britain. The drugmaker claimed there is no evidence the vaccine carries an increased risk of clots.
Blood clots can travel through the body and cause heart attacks, strokes and deadly blockages in the lungs. AstraZeneca reported 15 cases of deep vein thrombosis, or a type of clot that often develops in the legs, and 22 instances of pulmonary embolisms, or clots in the lungs.