Why Countries Are Suspending Use Of AstraZeneca’s Vaccine, Which India Is Still Using?

by Shatakshi Gupta
AstraZeneca Coronavirus Vaccine

Several countries including Germany, Italy and France have banned the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. The number of such countries continues to grow. So far more than 15 European and other countries have temporarily banned the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

Earlier, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Latvia, Indonesia, Denmark, Ireland and Thailand also took similar decisions.  The reason for this is that blood clots are being developed in some people after taking the vaccine dose. Although there is no firm evidence that the vaccine dose has caused the reaction, some countries have now banned the use of this vaccine as a precaution.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have clarified that the data could not clarify that vaccine led to blood clots. So, there is no problem with using the vaccine.

This development around the world is significant for India because we are also using the AstraZeneca vaccine as Covishield.

Which countries suspend the use of this vaccine?

Denmark stopped the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine last week. Some people complained of having multiple blood clots after taking the vaccine dose. In some cases, the person died 10 days after taking the dose. On this, Danish health officials said that the use of the vaccine would be suspended for two weeks. Till then the cases which have come up are being investigated. However, they also said that it cannot be said that there is a correlation between vaccines and blood clots.

After this, Norway, Iceland, Bulgaria, Thailand and Congo also temporarily banned the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.  Norwegian authorities said on Saturday that the number of blood platelets in 4 people decreased after taking a dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. This could also increase the risk of severe bleeding.

On Sunday, Ireland and the Netherlands announced they were also temporarily stopping the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.  Officials in the Netherlands also said that the decision to suspend the use of vaccine doses has been taken as a precaution. Then Germany, Italy and France, among the largest countries of Europe, also took this decision.

What AstraZeneca said about this?

Regarding the prohibition on the use of vaccine doses, AstraZeneca said that 17 million people have been given doses of AstraZeneca in Europe. Their data is being carefully reviewed. There is no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots in any age group or gender in any country.

Why such kind of reaction coming from these nations?

 Stopping vaccination abruptly is not new. Generally, caution is exercised whenever inoculation is done on such a large scale. Medical experts believe that serious side effects and deaths can occur. Currently,millions of people are getting vaccinated and problems may arise in random groups.

Generally, the vaccine is approved after prolonged and rigorous trails. But the COVID-19 vaccine is made in less than a year. There is no data regarding its effects in the long term. Because of this, extra precaution is being taken.

Also read: After Approval Of Covaxin And Covishield In India, Here Are 18 FAQs That You Need To Check

Are there any evidences bolstering this claim?

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said that there have been no certain indications that blood clots have been caused by the vaccination. In the UK, 11 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been given. There have been reports of blood clots in 11 people, but in no case was it confirmed that the reason for this was the vaccine dose.

Was AstraZeneca in controversy before?

The vaccine is made by Oxford University and the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. So far it has been approved in more than 50 countries.  Research in Britain, Brazil and South Africa has proved to be safe and effective.

What experts are saying?

Experts and health regulatorsaround the world including WHO and EMA, have saidthat people must take the vaccine.The advantages of taking a vaccine outweigh the potential disadvantages. The research and studyare still going on, the data is being analysed, after which only something concrete can be asserted.

WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said, “we do not want to let people get nervous. We urge all countries to continue the dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. So far we have not found any connection between these events and the vaccine.”

Source: ANI News
What will happen to COVISHIELD in India?

In India, two vaccines are used for vaccination against corona – COVAXIN and COVISHIELD. The more in use COVISHIELD is the one created by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The vaccine is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune.

The central government has clearly stated that there is no question of stopping the vaccination of AstraZeneca.  Sources in the Health Ministry said that no side-effect of blood clotting has been reported so far in India.

 After vaccination, the Adverse Events Followed Immunization (AEFI) committee, which monitors its side effects, may meet in a day or two. The Ministry will not take any decision without examining the evidence.