Norway should stop using AstraZeneca”s COVID vaccine, says the country’s public health institute.
Both the World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency have said the benefits of the vaccine outweigh its risks.
“There is now significantly more knowledge about the connection between the AstraZeneca vaccine and the rare and serious incidents of low platelets, blood clots and bleeding than when Norway chose to put further use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on pause in March,” said Geir Bukholm, director of infection control at Norway’s National Institute of Public Health.
“Based on this knowledge, we have arrived at a recommendation that the AstraZeneca vaccine be removed from the coronary vaccination programme in Norway.”
On March 11, authorities had suspended the rollout of the vaccine after a small number of people who had received the jab were hospitalised with a combination of blood clots and a low count of platelets, with three cases proving fatal.
Bukholm said that now, with “significantly more knowledge” about the connection between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare incidents of blood clotting and low platelets, Norway should cease use of the vaccine.
The institute estimated that pulling distribution of the AstraZeneca jab would likely bring about a delay in overall vaccine rollout by two weeks.
Bukholm said that it had not been easy to come to that recommendation. However, he suggested he believe it was a necessary step.
Those who have already received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are expected to be offered another coronavirus jab as their second dose.
However, the country’s public health institute said it would be offering more information on the specifics of the programme in the coming days.