Catalonia sits on 2,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses pending EU ruling on blood clots

WHO deem the jab safe, but European Medicine Agency yet to confirm it’s not related to recent health complications

A health professional administering an AstraZeneca shot (by Oriol Bosch)
A health professional administering an AstraZeneca shot (by Oriol Bosch) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 12, 2021 05:02 PM

Health authorities in Catalonia are sitting on 2,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses pending a ruling from the European Medicine Agency (EMA) on whether the jab can cause blood clots.

The move follows in the footsteps of some European countries like Norway, Iceland and Denmark, after the latter informed that a 60-year-old woman who received the shot had died after developing a blood clot. Non-fatal cases were also reported in other countries.

Spain’s government said on Friday that it was not suspending the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, alleging that no health complications have been reported in Spain which could suggest that the jab is unsafe.

As of last Wednesday, 30 cases of blood clots had been reported among close to five million people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe, as reported by the EMA

The agency stressed that "the jab’s benefits still outweigh the risks," but is carrying out an investigation as a "precautionary measure" and is expected to further communicate any relevant findings.

AstraZeneca for over 55s

The AstraZeneca vaccine has recently been at the centre of a separate controversy, as Spanish health officials refuse to administer the jab to people over 55, alleging a lack of data on its effectiveness.

Unlike other countries like France, Germany, or Italy, which rectified their initial reluctance as scientific evidence piled up confirming AstraZeneca's effectiveness, Spain stood firm in its decision, prompting criticism from health professionals and the Catalan government.