Sweden Could Lift Suspension of Astra Vaccine for Certain Groups

Sweden’s review of AstraZeneca Plc‘s Covid-19 vaccine is designed to identify which demographic groups are most at risk, so the country can shield them while potentially resuming inoculations for others.

Most European countries resumed immunization programs with Astra’s vaccine last week, after the bloc’s medicines regulator deemed it safe and effective. But Nordic countries, including Sweden, have erred on the side of caution and are conducting their own separate reviews amid reports of severe blood clots.

In Sweden, the main goal is figuring out which groups can tolerate the vaccine and which can’t, according to state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell.

“We are trying to look as objectively as possible at the available data,” he said at a press conference in Stockholm on Tuesday. “It’s about finding out whether it’s possible to pinpoint the groups of people where there is higher risk and groups of people where the risk may be virtually non-existent. It will take far longer to find models for what may have caused it.”

Sweden has signaled it will make its conclusions known on Thursday this week. Tegnell said health authorities in the country are currently “looking at different scenarios,” and that a limited resumption of its Astra vaccine program that excludes those deemed most at risk “is definitely one of them.”

Sweden desperately needs to keep its vaccination program on track. In the past week, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases jumped 13%, with 1,697 patients currently in hospital after contracting the disease.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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