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Netherlands halts AstraZeneca shots for under 60

Christian Fernsby |
The Netherlands is temporarily halting the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under the age of 60, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport said on Friday.

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The decision was prompted by possible blood clotting problems as a side effect of the vaccine.

Earlier on Friday, the Lareb side effects center reported that after injecting some 400,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, five reports have been received concerning women aged 25-65 who developed thrombosis in combination with a reduced platelet count.

One of these five women died after developing an extensive pulmonary embolism within ten days of the vaccination.

On Tuesday evening, Germany decided to stop inoculating people under 60 with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The outgoing Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said there should be no doubt whatsoever about the safety of vaccines.

"The crucial question is still whether it concerns complaints after vaccination or due to vaccination," he said in a press release, adding "it is wise to press the pause button now as a precaution."

The minister wrote in a letter to the parliament that he took this decision pending a further judgment by the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) of the European Medicines Agency. The committee is expected to come with further information about the AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday.

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