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Sweden, Latvia suspend use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine

Sweden, Latvia suspend use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine

FILE PHOTO: Vial labelled "AstraZeneca COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" and a broken syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken March 15, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

STOCKHOLM: Sweden and Latvia on Tuesday (Mar 16) joined a list of countries suspending the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine following reports of serious side effects.

Sweden's health agency said it was pausing vaccinations against COVID-19 using AstraZeneca's vaccine as a precautionary measure.

"The Swedish Public Health Agency has decided to suspend the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine until the European Medicines Agency's investigation into suspected side effects is done," its health agency said in a statement.

Sweden's Nordic neighbours Denmark and Norway have reported isolated cases of bleeding, blood clots and a low platelet count after inoculations with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

READ: Germany, Italy, France suspend AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine shots amid safety fears

READ: Portugal temporarily suspends AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots

The Swedish Medical Products Agency said on Monday it had recorded 10 cases of blood clots and one case of low levels of platelets among people who were given the AstraZeneca vaccine, but not in combination.

Latvia's government health agencies on Tuesday also announced a "temporary suspension" of up to two weeks of the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine in the country.

The move is "an additional precaution" while the vaccine is scrutinised, and no problems have been linked to its use in Latvia, the agencies said in a statement.

READ: WHO urges world not to halt COVID-19 vaccinations as AstraZeneca shot divides Europe

"The decision is based on reports from individual European Union countries of thromboembolism and similar cases observed at various times after receiving the vaccine," they said. "To date, there is no data on the causal link between vaccination and serious health problems."

On Monday, Germany, France and Italy said they would stop administering the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after several countries reported possible serious side effects, while the World Health Organization said there was no proven link.

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Source: Reuters/ga

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