Countries join others in pausing shots after a small number of cases of blood clotting on the continent
By Jenny Strasburg and Bojan PancevskiUpdated March 15, 2021 4:37 pm ET
Germany, Italy, France and Spain joined the ranks of European countries that have temporarily halted use of the Covid-19 shot made by AstraZeneca PLC over blood-clot concerns, dealing another blow to the continent’s sluggish vaccination rollout and threatening the credibility of the vaccine itself.
A cascade of cautionary pauses that started last week picked up Monday. Denmark was the first to suspend the shots. Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands and Iceland have also said they would wait for Europe’s bloc-wide medicines regulator to investigate a small number of serious blood-clotting issues among people who had received the AstraZeneca shot.
That regulator, the European Medicines Agency, is expected by Thursday to give its verdict on safety and potential risks from a review of the reported cases. The agency on Monday repeated an advisory from last week that for now it is recommending countries keep using the vaccine, saying the benefits outweigh possible risks.
The EMA, which acts much like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in regulating medicine across the European Union, has said there was no evidence of a link between the reported blood clots and the vaccine.