Finland suspends AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab after 2 thromboembolic events recorded in vaccine recipients

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare has said it is suspending the administration of the heavily scrutinized AstraZeneca vaccine after two incidents of blood clotting were recorded 4-10 days after receiving the jab.

On Friday, Finland’s Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), a department of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, announced that the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be suspended despite Thursday’s positive ruling from the European Medicines Agency. 

In a statement, the institute highlights two cases of “cerebral venous thrombosis” which occurred 4-10 days after two individuals received the Anglo-Swedish vaccine. Both patients were considered to be at high risk of developing conditions associated with vascular thrombosis.

Finland will continue to monitor the situation and any new data that emerges. The statement notes that no AstraZeneca vaccines will be administered until March 29 at the earliest following a thorough investigation by THL. 

THL adds that the observed symptoms are very rare and that there is no certainty that these symptoms are indeed linked to the administration of the vaccine, but advises those who have received the jab to monitor themselves for any abnormalities.

On Thursday, following a week-long review, the EMA once again gave its backing to the AstraZeneca vaccine. The medicines regulator investigated whether there was a causal link between seven cases of blood clots which affected multiple blood vessels and 18 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) among nearly 20 million vaccine recipients.

The EMA deemed the jab safe and effective, and said its benefits far outweigh its risks.