Denmark this week became the first European country to completely ban the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine due to blood clot concerns.
Although the blood clots are rare but serious, Denmark’s vaccination campaign will move forward without the AstraZeneca vaccine, Health Authority director Soren Brostrom said at a news conference, CBS News reported Wednesday.
The decision made by the country goes against recommendations by the World Health Organization and European Medicines Agency (EMA) to continue using the jab, who say the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
Danish officials reported a “higher than expected frequency” in the number of side effects, particularly blood clots, from the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The country will withdraw all 2.4 million doses of the vaccine until further notice, BBC reported.
The vaccine appears to lead to blood clots in about one in 40,000 people, according to the BBC, citing the Danish Health Authority. The complete ban of the vaccine follows two cases of thrombosis in Denmark that were linked to vaccines, including the death of a 60-year-old woman.
Last week, the EMA said it is possible the blood clots are linked to the vaccine, but that the risk of dying from COVID-19 is much greater, BBC reported.
Several European countries temporarily suspended use of the vaccine amid reports of blood clots, but most have resumed vaccinations with AstraZeneca. However, the vaccinations are often limited to older age groups.
On Tuesday, the U.S., the European Union and Canada paused the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine over similar concerns about blood clots.