Denmark to maintain exclusion of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines

Denmark to maintain exclusion of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines
(Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
Health officials in Denmark said on Friday they will continue to exclude the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccines from the country's inoculation drive after the government had asked for a review of the data.

The balance between possible benefit and possible harmful effects is still not favourable, even when we include assumptions in our analyses that benefit the vaccine,” the Danish health authority said a statement, according to Reuters.

The review of the data on the vaccines came after Denmark’s government had asked the
health authority to reconsider rulings against using the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines, after struggling to keep its vaccination drive on schedule.

The use of both vaccines was abandoned earlier in spring over concerns about rare, but severe cases of blood clots in some recipients.

But the Danish authorities have had difficulty getting deliveries of the Moderna vaccine from the United States, forcing a revision of plans to have everyone vaccinated by September.

At the moment, the estimated delay amounts to two weeks.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke told state broadcaster DR it was in this context that the government had asked the health authority to reconsider.

The authority withdrew AstraZeneca from the country’s vaccination programme in mid-April, and Johnson & Johnson in early May.

It cited not just the health concerns but the fact that the epidemic appeared to be under control and there seemed to be sufficient supplies of the approved vaccines, Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna.

Denmark was the first European country to drop the two vaccines from its official campaign, but in May 20 it loosened the restrictions for anyone who was willing to take them.

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