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AstraZeneca defends COVID-19 vaccine after new suspensions in Netherlands, Republic of Ireland

AstraZeneca PLC’s (LON:AZN) has defended its COVID-19 vaccine after it was suspended in the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland.

The Dutch government said the decision was taken as a precaution and the halt will last until March 29.

READ: AstraZeneca vaccine suspended in Denmark over side effect concerns

Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Iceland, Thailand, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg have put on hold the rollout over concerns about cases of blood clots reported in Norway.

However, the FTSE 100 pharma giant said that a review of all available safety data of more than 17mln people vaccinated in the EU and UK has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia.

So far across the EU and UK, there have been 15 events of DVT and 22 events of pulmonary embolism reported among those given the vaccine.

But the Anglo-Swedish firm said the number is “much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed COVID-19 vaccines”.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said last week there was no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions, which are not listed as side effects with this vaccine, but it was investigating the case.

The view was echoed by the Canadian health authority and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The World Health Organisation said last week the jab was not linked to the blood clots though it was investigating the matter.

Shares in AstraZeneca were flat at 6,950p early on Monday.

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