Today’s big question

Why EU countries are suspending Oxford vaccine rollouts - again

Nine European nations pausing jab campaigns amid unproven blood clot fears

Denmark, Austria and Italy are among a string of European countries that have suspended the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in response to claims that the jab may cause blood clots.

The suspensions come despite both the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the UK’s regulatory body saying “that there is no indication that vaccination is linked to thromboembolic events”, the BMJ reports.

Norway, Iceland, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Latvia have also suspended the use of the UK-developed jab in “a further setback for Europe’s vaccination campaign, which has struggled to pick up speed, partly because of delays in delivering the AstraZeneca vaccine”, the journal adds.

Thailand has stopped administering the jab too, “pending an investigation”, although officials claim the delay “will not have a big impact on the country's rollout”, Sky News reports.

According to the EMA, a total of just 30 cases of “thromboembolic events” have been reported among the five million-odd Europeans who have been inoculated with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

The regulator insisted yesterday that “the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks and the vaccine can continue to be administered while investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing”.

The BBC’s health editor Michelle Roberts echoes this message of reassurance, writing that while the concerns about clots “may sound worrying, it is not yet known if there is any connection between the two things”.

She also points out that “blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon”, causing “symptoms in around one in every thousand people in the UK every year”.

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