Mongoose: Nordic nations hold off on AstraZeneca jab as scientists probe safety concerns

07 Health, Disease & Health

Norway has been one of the most successful countries in Europe in the fight against Covid-19, with only Iceland experiencing fewer deaths relative to the size of its population.

So when, after vaccinating 120,000 of its 5.3m people with the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, Norway found six cases of severe blood clots in recipients that led to the death of two young health professionals, the number stood out.

“It is quite remarkable. For the young nurses, young doctors who have been vaccinated, it is not good news for them. The sentiment in Norway because of this is a little special,” Steinar Madsen, medical director at the Norwegian Medicines Agency, told the Financial Times.

The three Scandinavian nations stand apart from the rest of Europe in their reluctance to restart use of the AstraZeneca jab after at least 16 countries last week temporarily suspended it over concerns about blood clots in a number of recipients. On Thursday, the European Medicines Agency declared the vaccine safe after its own probe found no link, and inoculation resumed in Germany, Italy, Spain and other countries, with France limiting its use to the over-55s.

Norway, Denmark and Sweden say they will decide this week whether to restart their programmes.

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