Coronavirus Global situation

Netherlands halts use of AstraZeneca vaccine for under-60s

AMSTERDAM • The Netherlands has temporarily suspended use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for people under 60 following the death of a woman who had received a shot, the Health Ministry said.

About 10,000 vaccination appointments were to be scrapped as a result of the decision, news agency ANP reported.

The decision on Friday was made following new reports from medicine monitoring agency Lareb and discussions with health authorities, a Health Ministry statement said.

AstraZeneca said it was working with the Dutch authorities to address any questions.

Dutch agency Lareb, which tracks medication side effects, said earlier on Friday that it had received five reports of extensive thrombosis with low platelet counts after vaccinations with the AstraZeneca vaccine, including in a woman who died.

Thrombosis is a condition that prevents normal blood flow though the circulatory system. Lareb said the events had occurred seven to 10 days after vaccination. "These are women between 25 and 65 years old. Three patients had extensive pulmonary embolisms. One died and one also had a brain haemorrhage," it said.

Roughly 400,000 people were inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine in the Netherlands in the period and the reports "seem comparable to other reports in Europe", Lareb said.

The decision came a day after Germany halted use of the vaccine for people under 60.

Separately, the family of a woman who died of a blood clot after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine has filed a complaint with prosecutors in south-west France, a lawyer said on Friday.

The complaint was filed in Toulouse "against X" - not targeting any individual or entity at this stage - a practice allowed in France when the circumstances of a case are still unclear.

The aim of filing the complaint is to "obtain an investigation", the French family's lawyer Etienne Boittin said.

In a related development, the UK medical regulator said yesterday that out of 30 people who suffered blood clots after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, seven have died.

The rising number of blood-clot cases and the growing moves to suspend or limit shots have added to the uncertainty around the AstraZeneca vaccine, which many countries are relying on for their immunisation programmes.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 04, 2021, with the headline 'Netherlands halts use of AstraZeneca vaccine for under-60s'. Subscribe