Denmark reports two cases of serious illness, including one death, after AstraZeneca injection


COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Denmark said on Saturday that one person died and another became seriously ill with blood clots and brain hemorrhage after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

FILE PHOTO: In this illustration, taken on March 15, 2021, vials labeled “AstraZeneca COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine” are seen in front of a Danish flag displayed. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

The two, both members of the hospital staff, had received the AstraZeneca vaccine less than 14 days before becoming ill, said the authority that runs public hospitals in Copenhagen.

The Danish Medicines Agency confirmed that it had received two “serious reports”, without giving further details. There were no details of when the hospital staff became ill.

Denmark, which stopped use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 11, was one of more than a dozen countries to temporarily pause use of the vaccine after a small number of rare brain blood clot case reports sent to scientists and governments to fight to determine any link.

Some countries, including Germany and France, this week reversed their decision to suspend use of the vaccine following an investigation into reports of blood clots by the European Union’s drug watchdog, which said Thursday that it is still He is convinced that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

Denmark, along with Sweden and Norway, said on Friday they needed more time to decide whether to use the vaccine.

“We prioritize reports of suspected serious side effects like these and examine them thoroughly to assess whether there is a possible link to the vaccine,” Tanja Erichsen, acting director of Pharmacovigilance at the Danish Medicines Agency, said in a tweet on Saturday. .

“We are in the process of dealing with the two specific cases.”

The director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Emer Cooke, said on Thursday that the watchdog could not definitively rule out a link between the blood clot incidents and the vaccine in its investigation.

But he said the “clear” conclusion from the review was that the benefits of protecting people from the risk of death or hospitalization outweigh the possible risks. The issue deserves a more detailed analysis, the EMA said.

The EMA review covering 20 million people in the UK and the European Economic Area (EEA), which links 30 European countries, included seven cases of blood clots in multiple blood vessels and 18 cases of a rare disease which is difficult to treat called cerebral venous. sinus thrombosis (CVST).

AstraZeneca, which developed the injection with the University of Oxford, said a review covering more than 17 million people who had received their injections in the EU and Britain found no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.

On Saturday, the company declined to comment on the new cases in Denmark, but referred to a statement released Thursday, in which its chief medical officer, Ann Taylor, said:

“Vaccine safety is paramount and we welcome the decisions of regulators that affirm the overwhelming benefit of our vaccine in stopping the pandemic. We are confident that, following careful decisions by regulators, vaccinations can be resumed once again across Europe. “

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Alexander Smith and Frances Kerry

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