Coronavirus UK news update – France and Germany suspend AstraZeneca vaccine over fears blood clots linked to covid jab

FEARS of a link between the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots has seen more EU countries suspend its rollout.

Germany today became the 14th country to suspend the jab following Netherlands, Ireland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Italy and Thailand.

And just an hour later France revealed it was shutting down its AstraZeneca rollout for 24 hours as well as the blood clot claims were looked into.

Germany’s Health Ministry said the decision was taken as a precaution and on the advice of Germany’s national vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute.

Regulators called for further investigation of people who had suffered blood clotting in the days after their jab, according to AP.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on March 10 it would be investigating a spate of blood clotting cases in Europe.

But it later urged countries to continue vaccinating because the benefits of being protected against Covid outweigh any potential risk from the vaccine.

The UK medicine regulator – the MHRA – says the jab is safe and encourages Brits to accept their offer.

The evidence for such blood clotting appears to be patchy and research in the UK suggests the vaccine has no impact on the likelihood of developing a bloodclot compared with not taking it.

The World Health Organisation also reiterated its guidance that the Oxford / Astra-Zeneca vaccine is safe and the risks of not being vaccinated against Covid-19 far outweigh the risks of getting a jab.

The suspensions add yet another layer of chaos to the EU’s bungled vaccine rollout, which ranges from a shambolic jab procurement scheme to leaders such a French president Emmanuel Macron engaging in disinformation.

The UK jab rollout is set to increase in coming days thanks to renewed supplies and a staggering 36% of the population already vaccinated – all signs of a bright summer ahead and an early end to lockdown.

But on the continent vaccine take-up is so painfully low that cases are once again spiking, with Italy today being forced back into a new national lockdown to prevent hospitals being overrun and France having to run special covid planes to evacuate patients from an overwhelmed Paris.

Meanwhile in Germany Angela Merkel’s CDU party was hammered in two state elections as the public lost faith in the country’s Covid response.

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