FHI’s recommendation on Astra Zeneca

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has recommended stopping further use of the AstraZeneca vaccine (Vaxzevria) in the Norwegian coronary vaccination program.

Since the AstraZeneca vaccine was paused on 11 March, the National Institute of Public Health, together with other experts, has considered further use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Norway .  

– There is now significantly more knowledge about the connection between the AstraZeneca vaccine and the rare and serious events with low platelets, blood clots and bleeding, than when Norway chose to put the continued use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on pause in March, says Geir Bukholm , director of infection control at National Institute of Public Health. 

– Based on this knowledge, we  have arrived at a recommendation that the AstraZeneca vaccine be removed from the coronary vaccination program  in Norway , says  Bukholm. 

Bukholm points out that it has not been an easy recommendation. The recommendation has a direct consequence for when the risk groups can receive coronary vaccine and thus protection, and at the same time it has an impact on when it is possible to implement mitigation of infection control measures. 

Greater risk  associated with the  Astra Zeneca vaccine than with Covid-19 disease in Norway 

Norway has come a long way in vaccinating the elderly, and we have thereby reduced the risk of death in many of the most vulnerable. Since the oldest have largely been vaccinated or will be vaccinated in the near future, this means that continued use of the vaccine would mainly be relevant for age groups under 65 if we were to use this vaccine in Norway .   

Calculations have been performed  based on Norwegian figures  where the risk of dying  from Covid-19 disease  in different age groups  is compared with the risk of dying  from the serious but rare  condition with severe blood clots  after  AstraZeneca vaccination.  

– Since there are few who die of Covid-19 in Norway so will risk one  for  dying  by vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine  be greater  than risk one  of dying from the disease , particularly among young people, says Bukholm.   

In addition,  d a  reason to assume that there is skepticism about using AstraZeneca vaccine in Norway ,  and it is uncertain hv or many who would  have  accepted an offer of  this vaccine now . 

Those who have received the first dose 

Those who have received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered another corona vaccine as dose 2 . 

– We will return with specific information about when and how those who have received the first dose will receive the second dose. One dose provides good protection against  C ovid-19 for at least 12 weeks , says Bukholm. 

Postpones introduction of Janssen vaccine 

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on April 9 that they have started a so-called signaling procedure for COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen to investigate whether there is a connection between the vaccine and a few reported cases of severe blood clots among vaccinated people. Janssen has also reported an extradition break to Europe in connection with the FDA (US Drug Administration) and CDC (US Institute of Infectious Disease Control) recommending a temporary break in the use of Janssen’s vaccine due to reports of several cases of severe blood clots after vaccination starts in the United States.   

– Use of the Janssen vaccine in Norway is awaited until more information is available from the ongoing investigations, says Bukholm 

Consequences for vaccination progress 

The National Institute of Public Health estimates that the absence of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the vaccination program will entail a delay of approximately two weeks.  

By not using the Janssen vaccine, the vaccination program will be delayed by up to 7 weeks for certain age groups.  

As of today  , there  are just under  200,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and 24,000 doses of Janssen vaccine in stock in Norway. Doses stored in a properly e  until it is decided how they may be used. 

Via https://www.fhi.no/nyheter/2021/astrazeneca-vaksinen-tas-ut-av-koronavaksinasjonsprogrammet-i-norge/