The Indonesian Minister of Health announced on Monday the postponement of the launch of the vaccination campaign against the emerging coronavirus with the AstraZeneca vaccine, pending a decision from the World Health Organization, after reports rose about fears of possible side effects. “As a matter of caution and safety, Indonesia is postponing the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine until confirmation from the World Health Organization,” Budi Gunadi Sadkin said.
Earlier, the Netherlands on Sunday suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against the Coronavirus, as a precaution, until March 28, implicitly, after “possible side effects” were reported in Denmark and Norway, without there being a confirmed link at this stage between receiving The vaccine and those effects.
“Based on new information, the Dutch Medicines Authority has advised, in a precautionary measure and pending a more in-depth investigation, to suspend the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine” against Covid-19, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.
The statement quoted Health Minister Hugo de Jong as saying that “we must always be careful, and that is why it is wise to press the Stop Now button, in a precautionary measure.”
On Sunday, Ireland also suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to concerns related to causing blood clots, a problem facing the Swedish-British laboratory unable to deliver the promised quantities to the European Union.
Several countries, including Denmark, Norway, and Bulgaria, last week froze the use of the vaccine manufactured by the Swedish-British pharmaceutical giant, due to these concerns. However, the World Health Organization stressed that it has not been confirmed that there is a causal relationship between receiving the vaccine and having blood clots.
The manufacturer and the European Medicines Agency have insisted that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe. A spokesperson for AstraZeneca stated that “an analysis of our safety data, linked to reported cases from more than 17 million doses of vaccine administered, did not reveal any evidence of increased risk” of exposure to blood clots. “In fact, the numbers recorded for such events with the AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19 are lower than the number that would have been recorded naturally in the unvaccinated population,” he added.
The only European vaccine that has ever been imported to poor countries
The AstraZeneca vaccine is among the least expensive and represents the largest part of the vaccines that have been delivered to the world’s poorest countries under the WHO-supported Kovacs initiative, which aims to ensure an equal distribution of vaccines worldwide.
Large-scale vaccination campaigns are crucial to ending the pandemic that has killed more than 2.6 million people worldwide.
Shortage of shipments
“The vaccination process with the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 has been temporarily postponed from the morning of Sunday, March 14th,” a spokesperson for the Irish Ministry of Health told AFP.
The move came after the National Advisory Committee on Vaccination in Ireland recommended suspending the use of the vaccine, as a precaution, after “a statement from the Norwegian Medicines Agency about four new reports of dangerous clots in adults after vaccination.”
“No link has yet been concluded” between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, Assistant Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glenn said in a statement, and action has been taken “pending further information.”
According to government data updated Wednesday, about 570,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines have been given in Ireland so far, 109,000 of which are manufactured by AstraZeneca.
Ireland is currently under a third lockdown after it witnessed a high number of infections, and in early January it became the country with the largest spread of infection in the world.
The death of a teacher
After a short suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday following the death of a teacher who received the vaccine on Saturday, the Italian region of Piedmont decided, after checks, to resume its use, ruling out only one precautionary batch of vaccines.
The head of the Italian Medicines Agency, Giorgio Palo, said that the AstraZeneca vaccine does not pose “any risk,” considering that its benefits are much greater than the risks, “calling for reliance only on” scientific data. ”
Norwegian officials said Saturday that the country “has received several unpleasant reports of non-elderly people who have suffered a subcutaneous hemorrhage” after receiving the injection. The country also indicated that it had received “three other reports of severe clotting or brain hemorrhage in people who were not old enough to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
AstraZeneca’s reputation took another hit on Saturday when it announced a shortfall in deliveries to the European Union. The announcement was also another blow to the union’s leaders, who faced criticism over the faltering start of the vaccination campaign on the hard-hit continent.
The European Commissioner for Internal Market Affairs Thierry Breton said that the declaration by AstraZeneca was “unacceptable … or at least not understood.” But he sought reassurance about the European vaccination plan, saying that “the delay in obtaining AstraZeneca vaccines does not mean that we will delay the vaccination program in the first quarter of the year.”
On Sunday, the French government said it plans to transfer about 100 Covid-19 patients from intensive care units in the Paris region this week, as hospitals struggle to cope with the increase in the number of cases.
Officials hope to avoid a new lockdown affecting some 12 million people in and around the capital as they race to intensify the vaccination campaign, which has seen a slow start.
Revive the economy
In Italy, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said Sunday that the government hopes that new coronavirus restrictions imposed on three-quarters of the country will allow measures to be eased in the second half of spring. His comments came on the eve of the restrictions, which will take effect on Monday and continue until April 6, and cover the Easter holiday.
In Denmark, which has been under a partial lockdown since late December, two people were arrested on the sidelines of a protest over the weekend over anti-coronavirus restrictions in Copenhagen.
In Jordan, a hospital director and four of his assistants were arrested after the lack of oxygen led to the death of seven patients with Corona.
In Africa, Tunisia and Ethiopia launched vaccination campaigns on Saturday, but Ethiopian officials have indicated a worrying rise in cases as well.
Vaccination campaigns are crucial to revive the global economy, which has been affected by the epidemic, as travel has been restricted and people are forced to stay at home without a single country is immune from the repercussions.
Millions of people lost their jobs in the United States, the world’s largest economy, as those unable to work from home had to balance the risk of contracting the virus with the need to make ends meet.