Netherlands suspends rollout of AstraZeneca jab

Dutch health officials said they had suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine on Sunday for two weeks after “possible side effects” were reported in Denmark and Norway.

“Based on new information, the Dutch Medicines Authority has advised, as a precautionary measure and pending further investigation, to suspend the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

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“The crucial question is whether these are complaints after or because of the vaccination. There should be no doubt about the vaccines,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said in the statement.

“We still need to be careful, so it is wise to press the pause button now as a precaution.”

Countries including Norway and Denmark have already suspended their rollouts of the AstraZeneca vaccine because of concerns about blood clots.

No similar cases are currently known in the Netherlands, the ministry said, but it advised people who had received the vaccine to contact their doctor if they develop “unexpected and/or unknown” symptoms after three days.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday that there was “no reason not to use” the vaccine developed by Swedish-British laboratory AstraZeneca and Oxford University. AstraZeneca says its vaccine is safe.

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