Netherlands Suspends Use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

The Dutch government announced on March 14 that they suspended the use of COVID-19 vaccines developed by AstraZeneca for two weeks, following a similar decision from several other countries due to blood clot reports.

“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.

Dutch health authorities will then be forced to cancel 43,000 vaccination appointments due to the decision of the government, which had already secured 12 million doses of the vaccine.

The decision comes after several European countries and Thailand have already suspended the vaccine over reports of blood clots among vaccinated people.

There are no similar cases in Netherlands so far, according to the health ministry.

“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 stated.

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

De Jonge also said that the decision was based on new reports that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will investigate.

The Dutch health ministry also advised those who have received the vaccine to contact their doctor if “unexpected and/or unknown” symptoms develop after three days.

The temporary suspension, which will remain in place until at least March 29, comes as AstraZeneca announced that a review of safety data of people who received its vaccine has shown no evidence of increased risk of blood clots.

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