Investigate the side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine carefully, but in the meantime speed up the vaccination instead of stopping it temporarily. This is what the Thrombosis Foundation says in response to a sudden injection stop last Friday. Other experts are also critical.
Minister Hugo de Jonge announced on Friday afternoon that the AstraZeneca vaccine will no longer be given to people under 60 years of age for the time being. All planned injection appointments were canceled. This happened because at least five women under the age of 60 suffered from thrombosis after an injection with AstraZeneca. One of them died. The decision to stop an injection was taken after consultation between the Health Council, RIVM, the Ministry of Public Health and the Medicines Evaluation Board.
In mid-March, several European countries, including the Netherlands, also temporarily stopped using the company’s vaccine. This time, the stop will last at least until Wednesday, when the European Medicines Institute EMA will meet on the matter. New figures may therefore become available about the number of people with side effects throughout Europe.
Of course you should investigate these side effects carefully, but also provide more information about what happened: which women were affected?
“The vaccination should continue, accelerate it. The number of serious side effects that are now being detected does not outweigh the damage that non-vaccination causes, ”says Stans van Egmond, director of the Thrombosis Foundation. “Of course you have to investigate these side effects carefully, but also provide more information about what happened: which women suffered from thrombosis? Were they completely healthy or not? ” The foundation also points out that not vaccinating is also a risk: people who become very ill from corona are also more likely to develop thrombosis.
Other experts also criticize the injection stop. “You can stop vaccinating because of a very small risk, but then the danger to public health is much greater. All those unvaccinated people run a greater risk of Covid, ”said Hugo ten Cate, professor of Clinical Thrombosis at Maastricht UMC, in various media. The experts also feel passed over: the ministry has not asked them for advice. They suspect that it was mainly a political decision ‘for fear that the government would otherwise be accused of a lax attitude’.
Chance of thrombosis is small
Marion Koopmans, professor of virology at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, puts the risk of getting a blood clot after vaccination into perspective. “The risk of thrombosis after a vaccination with AstraZeneca is between the risk of death from an attack by a dog and the risk of death from lightning,” she reported on Twitter during Easter.
In the Netherlands, around 400,000 injections have been taken with AstraZeneca so far. Five women subsequently developed serious thrombosis complaints. It is not certain whether this is due to the vaccine. There were also reports of serious thrombosis from other European countries. In Great Britain there were 30 injections out of 18 million.
Van Egmond: “This policy of stinging and stopping again leads in any case to unrest and a lot of questions. Every day we receive dozens of emails and phone calls from people who are concerned: should I get an injection with AstraZeneca or not? The government must be able to provide a clear answer to this. ”
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