Norway Extends AstraZeneca Suspension to Study Rare But Severe Cases

Norway extended a temporary pause of its use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine until April 15 in order to gather more information about why a small number of people developed blood clots, hemorrhages and low platelet counts.

While the move will delay the country’s Covid-19 inoculation program by 1 to 2 weeks, it’s necessary to weigh the benefits of vaccination against the risk of rare but serious side effects from continued use, Geir Bukholm, head of infection at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, said in a statement.

The institute wants to establish if there is an increased incidence of the severe reactions and whether there are any factors that may have contributed. Those that have already received the first shot won’t get a second until the situation is clarified. A single dose provides good protection, especially against a severe disease course, the institute said.

Norway initially put Astra on hold on March 11, after reports of blood clots. Since then, health authorities have been investigating a handful of deaths they say followed use of the company’s vaccine.

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