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Norwegian health authorities still haven’t reached a conclusion on the AstraZeneca vaccine. The pause in vaccinations will be kept in place for three more weeks. A decision will be made before April 15.
“We need to know if there have been more cases of side effects in other countries, than those we already know about. We will be working very closely with other Nordic countries, especially Denmark,” said Camilla Stoltenberg, the head of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, to NRK.
They will also investigate if there are less serious cases of side effects that have gone unreported in other countries.
Four dead in Norway
Norway halted vaccinations with the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 11, after reports of possible serious side effects surfaced in several countries.
Four people have died from a rare combination of blood clots, low platelets and bleeding in Norway after receiving the AstraZeneca-vaccine.
A group of Norwegian doctors and researchers concluded that at least two of the deaths were caused by a powerful immune response to the vaccine on March 18.
“There is nothing in the patient history of these individuals that could give such a powerful immune response. I am confident that the antibodies we have found are the cause, and I see no other explanation than that the vaccine has triggered it,” said professor and chief physician at Oslo University Hospital, Pål Andre Holme.
Norway and Denmark still haven’t concluded
Around 120.000 people have received a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Norway, with the first dose being administered on February 7. So far there have been six reported cases of a rare condition of blood clots in patients who have received the vaccine. Four of them are dead.
Several other countries, like Germany, Italy, France and Spain, also paused the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after the early reports of side effects.
After the European Medicines Agency (EMA) concluded that the vaccine is safe and effective, almost all of these countries have resumed vaccinations using AstraZeneca.
The EMA did not consider the blood clot-report from the Norwegian team of experts, as it arrived a day after the agency finished their investigations.
Currently, Norway and Denmark are the only countries that are still not putting their doses of AstraZeneca to use.
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Featured image is from Berit Roald / NTB