Dr Sarah Jarvis discusses impact of vaccine rollout on GPs
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The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use in several countries, including the UK. The vaccine has proved crucial to the successful rollout of Covid vaccinations in the UK, with the jab highly praised for its efficacy and the ease with which it can be rolled out and administered. However, several countries have suspended rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine while safety concerns are investigated.
Which countries have suspended the Oxford Covid vaccine?
Several countries are continuing to roll out the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at present.
However, following a few reports of blood clots in some people who received the vaccine, some nations have decided to suspend either all AstraZeneca vaccines or just certain batches of the jab.
Denmark has temporarily suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports of blood clots and one death.
Soren Brostrom, director of the National Board of Health in Denmark, said: “It is important to emphasize that we have not opted out of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but that we are putting it on hold.
“There is good evidence that the vaccine is both safe and effective.
“But both we and the Danish Medicines Agency have to react to reports of possible serious side effects, both from Denmark and other European countries.”
Some other European countries have suspended the use of all AstraZeneca vaccines this week, including Bulgaria, Norway and Iceland.
Bulgaria suspended the vaccine after a 57-year-old woman died of heart failure 15 hours after she received a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Austria, Italy, Luxembourg, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia stopped using certain batches of the vaccine.
The European Medicines Agency is investigating reports of blood clots in vaccinated people but presently there is no firm evidence of a link between the vaccine and blood clot incidents.
On Friday, Thailand became the first country in Asia to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The recent suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine in some European nations will cause further delays for the EU’s vaccine rollout programme, which has faced heavy criticism for its efficiency and rollout speed.
However, the UK, France, Germany and Spain are among many nations which will still roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine over the coming months.
According to Reuters, AstraZeneca is also preparing to file for emergency use authorisation in the US later in March or in early April.
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Is the AstraZeneca vaccine safe?
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine underwent extensive testing before it was approved by the UK’s regulatory body, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
This week the European Medicines Agency emphasised there was no indication the AstraZeneca vaccine was causing blood clots.
The EMA also said the benefits of the vaccines “continue to outweigh its risks”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been keen to stress the AstraZeneca vaccine should continue to be administered.
Spokeswoman Margaret Harris said the vaccine was “excellent”.
She told a briefing: “It’s very important to understand that, yes, we should continue to be using the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“All that we look at is what we always look at: Any safety signal must be investigated.”
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