Dr. Ronan Glynn, Ireland’s deputy chief medical officer, said the recommendation was made after Norway’s medicines agency reported four cases of blood clotting in adults after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
He said that while there was no conclusive link between the vaccine and the cases, Irish health officials are recommending the suspension of the vaccine’s rollout as a precaution.
The Netherlands too will suspend the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine until at least March 29 as a precaution, the Dutch government said on Sunday.
The move, which follows a similar decision by Ireland earlier in the day, is based on reports from Denmark and Norway of possible serious side effects, the government said.
Three health workers in Norway who had recently received the vaccine were being treated in hospital for bleeding, blood clots and a low count of blood platelets, its health authorities said on Saturday.
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Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic authorities have taken similar precautionary steps. The World Health Organization and the European Union’s medicines regulator said earlier in the week that there was no link between the jab and an increased risk of developing a clot.
The U.K.’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, said Thursday that “reports of blood clots received so far are not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population” and that “available evidence does not confirm that the vaccine is the cause.”
It said people should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.
In an interview with The Canadian Press earlier this week, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma, said there is no scientific explanation to suggest a link between the Oxford- AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and blood clots.
“There’s not a good biological explanation about why a vaccine of this type, injected into a muscle, would cause that kind of adverse event,” she told the outlet.
Sharma said Health Canada has a “really low threshold” for adverse events that could trigger a pause in the use of a vaccine and wouldn’t hesitate to do so if something warranted it.
-With files from Reuters, Canadian Press and Global News