Netherlands halts use of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

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Amsterdam: The Netherlands suspended the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine over concerns about possible side effects.

“Based on new information, the Dutch Medicines Authority has advised, as a precautionary measure and pending further investigation, to suspend the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

“The crucial question is whether these are complaints after or because of the vaccination. There should be no doubt about the vaccines,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said in the statement.

“We still need to be careful, so it is wise to press the pause button now as a precaution.”

The Dutch government said the move, which will last until at least 29 March, was a precaution.

The Republic of Ireland earlier made a similar decision over reports of blood clotting events in adults in Norway.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) – who is currently carrying out a review into incidents of blood clots – says the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks.

Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Iceland and Thailand have already halted their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In a statement, AstraZeneca said there was no evidence of an increased risk of clotting due to the vaccine.

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