“Our decision to put vaccination with the Covid-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca on hold until week 12 (March 22nd-28th) remains in effect,” the head of the Danish Health Authority, Søren Brostrøm, said in a statement late Thursday.
“In the coming days, the Danish Health Authority and the Danish Medicines Agency will assess the impact of EMA’s review of the Covid-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca on the Danish vaccination programme,” he added.
“We work on a principle of caution. Our assessment is that we need to dig deeper into this matter because we need to understand the side effects better,” Brostrøm said at a briefing on Friday.
“This is a very unusual picture, and one possible explanation is an immune response,” he also said.
That may have been a reference to conclusions announced on Thursday by a group of Norwegian medical experts at Oslo University Hospital, who said that blood clots in three health workers who took the AstraZeneca vaccine were triggered by an immune system response.
The Danish Health Authority will make a new statement on Thursday next week as to whether the country will resume use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Brostrøm said at Friday’s briefing that this would include clarification on whether the vaccine no longer be used at all, return to normal use or be used with new conditions in place.
In the latter case, that could involve restricting it to certain age groups or only using it in controlled conditions.
Last week, Denmark was the first country to suspend use of the AstraZeneca jab, a decision then followed by more than a dozen other mostly European countries.
The Health Authority has noted that even though the EMA emphasised the benefits of the vaccine and called it “safe and effective,” the Amsterdam-based agency had said it “cannot rule out that there is a link between the few known cases of rare but severe blood clots and vaccination with the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca.”
The Scandinavian country is currently investigating 10 cases, including one fatality, where blood clots or blood clot symptoms arose after more than 140,000 people received the jab made by the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker.
Sweden, Norway and Iceland have all suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine due to the risk of blood clots.
Sweden and Norway have also said they will wait before resuming its use as they investigate further, while Iceland has yet to announce its decision.