The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday urged countries not to “panic” as several nations halted the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine amid concerns over possible side-effects.
A WHO advisory committee plans to meet Tuesday to discuss the vaccine, which Germany, France and Italy said on Monday they were pausing after several countries reported serious conditions in people who had received the shot.
Denmark and Norway had stopped giving the shot last week after reporting isolated cases of blood clots, bleeding or a low platelet count. Iceland and Bulgaria followed suit and Ireland and the Netherlands announced suspensions on Sunday. Portugal temporarily suspended the vaccine on Monday.
Even so, top WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan reiterated that there had been no documented deaths linked to COVID-19 vaccines.
Health Canada, along with U.K. and EU drug regulators, said they would continue to move forward with administering the vaccine, despite the suspensions.
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