Some country decides to stop using of AstraZeneca vaccine

The Netherlands has become the latest country to suspend use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine over concerns about possible side effects.

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The Dutch government said the move, which will last until at least 29 March, was a precaution.

The Republic of Ireland earlier made a similar decision over reports of blood clotting events in adults in Norway.

But the World Health Organisation says there is no link between the jab and an increased risk of developing a clot.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) - who is currently carrying out a review into incidents of blood clots - says the vaccine's benefits continue to outweigh its risks.

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Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Iceland and Thailand have already halted their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

What measures did the Dutch government take?

In a statement, the Dutch government said it was acting out of precaution following reports from Denmark and Norway of possible serious side effects.

"We can't allow any doubts about the vaccine," Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said.

"We have to make sure everything is right, so it is wise to pause for now."

Sunday's decision will now cause delays in the Dutch vaccination program.

The authorities had pre-ordered 12 million doses of AstraZeneca, with nearly 300,000 jabs scheduled in the next two weeks.

What did AstraZeneca say?

In a statement, AstraZeneca said there was no evidence of an increased risk of clotting due to the vaccine.

It said that across the EU and United Kingdom there had been 15 events of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and 22 events of pulmonary embolism reported among those vaccinated.

media captionThe front-line doctor photographing the pandemic

"Around 17 million people in the EU and UK have now received our vaccine, and the number of cases of blood clots reported in this group is lower than the hundreds of cases that would be expected among the general population," said Ann Taylor, the firm's chief medical officer.

"The nature of the pandemic has led to increased attention in individual cases and we are going beyond the standard practices for safety monitoring of licensed medicines in reporting vaccine events, to ensure public safety."

A German medical care union is warning of a shortfall of intensive care (ICU) nurses as a larger number of workers consider moving to other jobs.

According to the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI), around 32% of specialist nurses said they are thinking of switching jobs.

"We absolutely have to stop this flight from the nursing profession," DIVI President Gernot Marx told Germany's Funke Media Group on Sunday.

"We need to improve the working conditions and the attractiveness" of intensive care nursing, he added.

COVID in Germany has strained the capacity of intensive care stations. According to DIVI, just over 3,800 intensive care beds are currently free in Germany.

Meanwhile, state elections are being held Sunday in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. Due to coronavirus, a record number of ballots will be cast by mail. Those who show up to polling stations will be subject to strict hygiene regulations. 

On Sunday, Germany's Robert Koch Institute for disease control reported 10,790 new COVID cases.  

Ireland's vaccine task force has recommended temporarily suspending the rollout of AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine. The decision comes after several EU countries also stopped administering the shots last week over blood clot concerns. 

Ireland's deputy chief medical officer Ronan Glynn said the recommendation was "precautionary" following a report from the Norwegian Medicines Agency outlining "four new reports of serious blood clotting events in adults after vaccination."

Several European countries suspend AstraZeneca vaccine

Asia 

Singapore said on Sunday it hopes to start reopening its borders to tourists at the end of 2021 and could allow travel with Australia even sooner under a "travel bubble" that could start in July. 

The travel bubble would allow vaccinated people to travel between Singapore and Australia.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a TV interview that said Singapore was also discussing the use of "vaccine certificates" with other countries.

"As the vaccine rolls out, not only in Australia but in other countries, we will reopen more bubbles," he said. 

Authorities in Pakistan are imposing a partial lockdown in areas of Punjab, as a third COVID wave grips the country's largest province. 

Authorities have already fined dozens of marriage halls and restaurants for violating the new restrictions. 

Middle East

Protests have erupted in a number of cities and provincial towns in Jordan over the government's handling of the coronavirus, a day after oxygen ran out at a state hospital leading to the deaths of at least six COVID-19 patients.

Hundreds of people took to the streets in defiance of a night curfew in the northern city of Irbid and several other provincial cities including a neighborhood in the capital, Amman, and the city of Salt. Protesters also gathered further south in Karak city and the port city of Aqaba.

"Down with the government. We don't fear coronavirus," hundreds of youths chanted in Irbid, where outrage at the hospital scandal combined with anger over tighter restrictions was evident on the streets.

Source 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-netherlands/netherlands-halts-use-of-astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccine-idUSKBN2B60OV?il=0