When it became clear that Germany was pausing, the pressure increased on other governments to hold back too, for fear of acting carelessly and for the sake of a united front

ROM – After spending days promoting the safety of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza took a call on Monday from his German counterpart and learned that Germany was concerned enough about some serious blood clot cases in some of the had received the vaccine to suspend its use

Their vaccine launches were already lagging behind due to bottlenecks and encouraging people to take the shots available. Just days earlier, Prime Minister Mario Draghi assured Italians who had been wary of the AstraZeneca vaccine, “There is no conclusive evidence no clear correlation for these events to be related to vaccine administration, “he said

But as soon as Germany paused, pressure increased on other governments to do the same so that public opinion would not punish them if they appeared careless in comparison and in the interests of a unified European front

Germany’s decision sparked a domino effect of defects in the vaccine.A cascade of countries – Italy, France, and Spain – soon joined the decision to suspend AstraZeneca, which dealt a heavy blow to Europe’s already shaky vaccination campaign, despite lack of clear evidence there was evidence that the vaccine had caused damage

On Tuesday, the European Union’s top drug regulator pressed back on concerns about the shot, saying there was no evidence that it was causing dangerous problems and that its life-saving benefits “outweigh the risk of the side effects.” Agency is still investigating the problem, “said Emer Cooke, its executive director, adding that there” is no evidence that vaccination caused these conditions””

It seems increasingly clear that the suspensions have to do with political as well as scientific considerations

“There is an emotional situation that arises from this case in Germany,” said Giorgio Palù, President of the Italian Medicines Agency, on Tuesday. He said: “There is no danger At the epidemiological level there is no correlation”

“It was a political decision,” director Nicola Magrini told La Repubblica on Monday Italy had suspended the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine because other European countries had decided to

As of Tuesday, some governments had already reformulated their decisions to increase confidence in vaccinations – a sort of regrouping of a difficult effort, but at the moment the suspensions appear to have had the opposite effect, further delaying and potentially delaying the stumbling block in Europe Hundreds or thousands more lives at risk

Analysts say the delays will make it extraordinarily difficult for a European country to meet its target of vaccinating 70 percent of its population by September and increasing pressure on governments to secure vaccines that are not yet available from them Regulators of the block were approved

France said in a statement on Tuesday that President Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s Prime Minister, Mr Draghi had discussed the decision to suspend use of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the comments from European health authorities on Tuesday were “encouraging” “

The vaccine discontinuation is a “temporary precaution” while countries await evaluation by the European Medicines Agency, the statement said

“Emmanuel Macron and Mario Draghi are ready to resume vaccination campaigns with the AstraZeneca vaccine very quickly if the additional investigation by the EM.EIN provides positive conclusions, ”the statement says

But Monday’s decisions may have already set Europe’s vaccination campaign back at a dangerous moment in the pandemic as the continent faces a third wave of infections triggered by new variants

The clinical trials of AstraZeneca and other vaccines have been large enough to sound the alarm about common side effects, scientists said, but rare events most likely did not occur until after mass vaccination began

There is still no causal link between the vaccine and blood clots or severe bleeding, and the European Union Medicines Agency has stated that the vaccine should continue to be used.Health officials in Europe said on Tuesday that concerns are lessening with the low number of coagulation problems have to do with their unusual manifestations, especially in younger people

Countries like Austria initially reported rare but serious cases of blood clotting, including in the lungs, however European regulators have found that these conditions were no more common in vaccinated people than any other, and they are more common in older people who The aim of vaccination campaigns was

As these concerns seemed to be dissipating, some countries reported a small number of other seemingly unrelated problems: low platelets, an essential part of the blood to clot in patients in Norway, and clots in a duct that drains blood from the blood Brain in German recipients of the vaccine The German patients were younger than 50 years, which heightened the concern of the health authorities

Some cases of immune thrombocytopenia, which is characterized by a lack of platelets, have also been reported in the United States in people who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines

Anyway, scientists said the disorders – even in people who had been vaccinated – were so extremely rare that if vaccines continued to be given, most lives would be saved

“We must do what will reduce the overall risk burden in the community,” said Naor Bar-Zeev, epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health that we have a very quick, very thorough and so good analysis of the available safety data ”

European countries have not weighed a decision on any vaccine, their concerns are centered on AstraZeneca, a company they have had toxic relationships with since it drastically cut back vaccine shipments scheduled for early 2021

This spit caused the European Union to tighten the rules for the export of these and other shots from factories within the bloc, and it deepened the longstanding suspicion of some European health authorities about the vaccine.The bloc was slow to approve the vaccine and waited up to a month after Britain did this

Even after European regulators approved it, some Member States restricted the use of the vaccine to younger people and reported insufficient data from clinical studies on its use in the elderly

That decision could haunt European lawmakers: Britain, which has given the vaccine to all adults, has since shown that a first dose significantly reduces the risk of older people getting Covid-19

Just as European Union member states broke with the bloc’s centralized drug regulator when they initially restricted the vaccine to younger people, they broke off regulators for a second time this week to suspend rollout altogether, analysts said , this reflected a growing impatience with the bloc’s bureaucracy amid a catastrophically slow vaccine rollout

“It was a terrible blow to Europe’s self-confidence internationally,” said Johan Norberg, a Swedish historian who wrote about the continent’s pandemic, “We always have a tendency to withdraw into our own national politics”

These political considerations have spread across the continent in the last few days after someone in Austria who had been given the AstraZeneca vaccine died after developing blood clots. discontinue use of a batch of this vaccine. Other countries soon followed suit, alerting new reports of blood clotting, rare as they were

For the past few days, Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias has been speaking to her colleagues across the continent, according to a ministry official who asked not to be named because the discussions were private, a case of Spain broke out last weekend Thrombosis was detected and some regions had stopped distributing a batch of AstraZeneca vaccines for safety reasons

France, too, appeared to be bowing to pressure to act in unison with its powerful neighbors.It had relied on the AstraZeneca vaccine to catch up on vaccinations after its onset of the Ice Age, and Olivier Véran, France’s health minister, had said just days ago there is “no reason to suspend the vaccination”

But after Germany made its intentions clear and public, Mr. Macron had a choice of whether to follow suit or be an outlier. And so on Tuesday, Mr Véran changed his tune to France, he told Parliament that he had to “listen to Europe, to all European countries”

Mr. Italian Health Minister Speranza expected this to happen after speaking to his counterpart in Germany in a discussion told by an Italian official who was aware of it

If Mr. Speranza brought the matter to Prime Minister Draghi He noted the unbearable public pressure Italy would face if it were to use a vaccine on its own that is considered too dangerous for Europe

Mr Draghi, an advocate of European unity, spoke to Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and to Dr Speranza decided to suspend AstraZeneca until the European Medicines Agency gave the all-clear

When the harm of the delays became clear on Tuesday, European officials tried to downplay the disruption, saying they were just waiting for European regulators to complete a quick review of the issues before going back to vaccinating people with the AstraZeneca shot began

Italy even argued that once European regulators issued their recommendation on Thursday, as expected, the 200000 would quickly make up for vaccines lost through the suspension, the government said, with the help of the Pfizer vaccine

“It is right that regulators are investigating safety signals,” said Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow on Global Health at the University of Southampton. “But the interruption of a vaccine rollout during a pandemic when there are many Covid-19s is quite a dramatic decision – and I don’t see why you would do that””

And for a European Union that has preached the virtues of sticking together during the pandemic, even if it slowed down its vaccination campaign, the decisions revealed the pitfalls of moving in lockstep

“It is the unity of panic,” said Nathalie Tocci, director of the Italian Institute for International Affairs and advisor to the head of foreign affairs of the European Union

Jason Horowitz reported from Rome and Benjamin Mueller from London The report was written by Emma Bubola in Milan, Gaia Pianigiani in Siena, Melissa Eddy in Berlin, Aurelien Breeden in Paris and Raphael Minder in Madrid

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World News – FI – Europe’s vaccine suspension may be political as well as science driven

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/16/world/europe/europe-astrazeneca-vaccine-suspensions.html