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Portugal suspends use of AstraZeneca vaccines as a “precaution”

Portugal suspends use of AstraZeneca vaccines as a Portuguese health authorities have decided to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 as a “precaution”. The decision was announced by the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) and the authority of the drug (Infarmed) and comes after several European countries have also suspended the administration of this vaccine due to reports of the appearance of blood clots in vaccinated people.

“DGS and Infarmed today recommended the temporary suspension of the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine, based on the principle of precaution in public health”, said the president of Infarmed, Rui Ivo, in a joint press conference, in which the coordinator of the task force for vaccination against covid-19, Henrique Gouveia e Melo, was also present with the General Director of Health, Graça Freitas.

Asked about the existence of episodes of thromboembolism following vaccination against Covid-19, Rui Ivo acknowledged that there were two cases, although he distanced these situations from those that occurred in other countries.

“These are different cases from those that were actually reported at European level today, they are not in the same pattern. These are situations that are totally recovering ”, he assured.

The decision to suspend administration of the vaccine comes just a day after Infarmed and DGS declared that the AstraZeneca vaccine could continue to be administered, stressing that there was no evidence of a link with the thromboembolic cases registered in other countries. In the meantime, the country continues to use vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna, authorized by the European Medicines Agency.

Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Norway, Austria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg and Denmark, in addition to other countries, including outside Europe, have already stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine as a “precaution”, after reports of serious cases blood clots in people who have been vaccinated with doses of the AstraZeneca drug.

The company has already said that there is no reason to worry about its vaccine and that there have been fewer cases of thrombosis reported in people who received the injection than in the general population.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that the available data does not suggest that the AstraZeneca vaccine caused the clots and that people can continue to be immunised with that drug.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has meanwhile announced that the United Nations agency’s expert committee “is reviewing the available data” on the vaccine developed by the Swedish laboratory and the University of Oxford and will meet on Tuesday to discuss the vaccine.

In Portugal, the Covid-19 pandemic has already killed 16,694 people out of the 814,513 confirmed cases of infection, according to the most recent bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health.

Original article available in Portuguese at http://postal.pt/