Norway halted the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday after three health workers who had recently received the vaccine shots reported to the hospital with low blood platelets count and bleeding.
Denmark, Austria, and Iceland have already halted the rollout in respective health centers due to unusual symptoms that people have reported after being administered the COVID-19 vaccine.
Steinar Madsen, the Medical Director at the Norwegian Medicines Agency has claimed that all three individuals are under the age of 50 and have reported to the hospital with unusual symptoms of bleeding, blood clots, and a very low count of blood platelets.
The European Medicine Agency (EMA), has taken notice of the cases and intends to start an investigation soon.
In its defense, AstraZeneca has claimed that it has already administered 17 million vaccine doses in the EU and the UK, and none have shown any symptoms of an increased pulmonary embolism risk, thrombocytopenia, or deep vein thrombosis which leads to low levels of platelets.
The company’s spokeswoman claimed that during the clinical trials of the vaccine, no such patterns of similar symptoms were reported. She further claimed that it is the pandemic that has led to increased attention towards individual cases.
The EMA declared AstraZeneca safe to be administered, claiming that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh its risks. The EMA has also claimed that there has been no link established between the vaccine and the blood clots and the vaccine rollout should continue as per schedule.
Even though repeated affirmations have been made by the EMA and other health advisories that AstraZeneca is safe to administer, more countries have suspended the vaccine rollout. Thailand became the first country outside Europe to do so.
Europe on the whole has been struggling to speed up the vaccination process. There have been delays in the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines which has resulted in an unprecedented surge in the COVID-19 cases in various European countries.