In a statement on Friday, the ministry said the decision was made “as a precaution” on the heels of reports from Dutch drug monitoring agency Lareb which said it had received news of five blood-clot cases among women who had recently been given a shot of Vaxzevria, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.
The women, all aged between 25 and 65, had received the jab about 7 to 10 days beforehand.
“Three [of the five] patients had extensive pulmonary embolisms. One died and one also had a brain haemorrhage,” Lareb said. “Another patient had extensive abdominal vein thrombosis. One patient developed a thrombosis of the arteries in the legs.”
The agency noted that within the period concerning the five complaints, around 400,000 people were given the vaccine, and the reports “appear to be comparable to other reports in Europe.”
The Dutch move comes a day after Germany similarly suspended its use of the vaccine among those under 60 over safety concerns. Canada has instructed it should only be used in people under 55.
Earlier on Friday, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said it had received a total of 30 blood clotting reports among recipients of the jab after 18 million doses of the vaccine was administered across the country.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization have both said that they consider Vaxzevria safe to use and that its benefits outweigh any possible risks. Several countries had totally suspended using the vaccine amid concerns of a possible link between it and blood clots; however, further reviews by regulatory bodies have not found any causal connection, and states resumed its use in their vaccine rollouts.
Following news of the Netherlands’ temporary restrictions on the vaccine, AstraZeneca said in a statement that it was working with local authorities on their concerns, and noted the continued support for the jab by regulators in the UK, EU and WHO.
AstraZeneca also noted that, to date, tens of millions of people around the world have received doses of their vaccine.
The extensive body of data from two large clinical datasets and real-world evidence demonstrate its effectiveness, reaffirming the role the vaccine can play during this public health crisis,” the company added, as cited by Reuters.