Germany restricts the use of AstraZeneca in blood clots under the age of 60

Berlin — German health officials limit the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to people under the age of 60 on Tuesday amid new concerns about abnormal blood clots reported in many people who were shot. Agreed to.

Health Minister Jens Spahn and state officials have unanimously agreed to vaccinate only people over the age of 60 unless they belong to a category at high risk of serious illness due to COVID-19. Risk of serious side effects.

The move follows the recommendation of an independent panel of German vaccine experts, and in AstraZeneca’s recent recipients, a national medical regulator has reported an abnormal form of thrombosis in the head (known as sinus vein thrombosis). This will take place after the release of new data showing an increase in reported cases. vaccine.

The news is a further blow to the vaccine. It’s been less than two weeks since EU drug regulators said vaccines wouldn’t increase the overall incidence of blood clots following similar fears.

The European Medicines Agency said at the time that the benefits of vaccination outweighed the risks, but the association between shots and some unusual types of blood clots cannot be ruled out and warns of possible rare side effects. Was recommended to add.

In some German regions, including the capital Berlin and the country’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, the use of youth shots had already been suspended at the beginning of Tuesday. The decision states that national health regulators have increased the count of rare blood clots reported by March 29 to 31 of the approximately 2.7 million AstraZeneca administered in Germany so far. It was done afterwards.

According to the Paul Erich Institute, nine people died and all but two were associated with women between the ages of 20 and 63.

In a statement prior to the announcement, AstraZeneca said tens of millions of people were vaccinated worldwide, and EU regulators and the World Health Organization concluded that Shot’s benefits outweigh the risks. ..

Harry Hoffman (L), a doctor at the Volkswagen company, and Nicholsprotte (R), a nurse, were vaccinated against AstraZeneca in Zwickau, Germany on March 30, 2021 and are employees of the Volkswagen Saxony plant. We will vaccinate our member, Stephen Martin. (Via Hendrik Schmidt / dpa AP)

The company works with German authorities to address questions while analyzing its records and reporting rare blood clots “more commonly than naturally expected in a population of millions.” Whether or not he understands. “

Germany is struggling to strengthen its vaccine program with other European countries, and a halt is imminent. By Monday, approximately 13.2 million people in the country had been vaccinated at least once, and nearly 4 million had both vaccinated.

Use of the AstraZeneca vaccine was temporarily suspended in several European countries earlier this month due to concerns about rare blood clots. After a review by medical experts from the European Medicines Agency, most European Union countries, including Germany, resumed use of the vaccine on 19 March.

On Monday, Canada stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under the age of 55, citing new information on data from Europe.

“Given the potential risks, there is considerable uncertainty about the benefits of providing the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to adults under the age of 55,” said Vice Member of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization in Canada. Dr. Sherry Dikes, the chief, said.

According to Dikes, the updated recommendation is that the risk of blood clots is now potentially high at 1 in 100,000, much higher than the previously believed risk of 1 in 1 million. It is said to be in the new data from Europe that suggests.

The German decision could affect the appointments of tens of thousands of teachers and people in existing conditions who were recently invited to be vaccinated in Berlin. Reservations for AstraZeneca Shots are now available earlier than reservations for vaccines created by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Scientists at the University of Greifswald in Germany released this week the results of an investigation into possible causes of blood clots. The condition is said to resemble the side effects seen in some patients taking the anticoagulant heparin.

This study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, does not provide a definitive explanation for why some people vaccinated with AstraZeneca develop rare blood clots. Still, experts not involved in this study said it would provide important information to doctors.

Alice Asinger, an expert in vascular disease and blood clot research at the Medical University of Vienna, said there are treatments for rare blood clots.

A further concern is that the latest issues can further damage Shot’s reputation in the eyes of the general public.

Marte Kvittum Tangen, leader of the Norwegian General Medical Association, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK last week that “although there are no reports of general vaccine resistance … people clearly do not want the AstraZeneca vaccine. There is certainty and skepticism. “

Frank Jordan

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