Dutch stop AstraZeneca jabs for under 60s

The Netherlands is stopping coronavirus injections for people under the age of 60 after new reports of rare blood clots, Dutch health authorities said on Friday.

The move comes after five new cases in the Netherlands affecting women aged 25 to 65, the health ministry said in a statement.

“We have to be careful which is why it is wise to press the pause button now as a precaution,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said in a statement.

The suspension of AstraZeneca’s jabs lasts until April 7, when the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to issue further advice on the matter, he said.

Germany had taken a similar decision earlier this week, the health ministry noted.

About 10,000 vaccinations that were scheduled for next week for Dutch health workers under the age of 60 have now been postponed, the GGD public health department said.

“The immediate cause of the decision are the reports of cases of extensive thrombosis in combination with a low platelet count after vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine,” he said.

The EMA said on Wednesday it believed the AstraZeneca jab was safe and that experts had not found any specific risk factors such as age, gender or medical history.

However, he said he would issue an “updated recommendation” after his safety committee meeting next week, the Amsterdam-based regulator said.