* Country stops using vaccine after blood clot reports
* Side-effects “real and serious” – health agency head
* AstraZeneca says it respects Denmark’s decision
* Denmark has also paused use of J&J vaccine (Adds J&J context, Astra comment)
By Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen
COPENHAGEN, April 14 (Reuters) – Denmark on Wednesday became the first country to stop using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine altogether over a potential link to a rare but serious form of blood clot.
The decision will push back the scheduled conclusion of Denmark’s vaccination scheme to early August from July 25, health authorities said.
But that new timeline assumes it will start using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, whose rollout in Europe has been delayed over similar clotting concerns and the use of which Denmark has suspended. That shot comprises around a third of the country’s total contracted supply.
Results of investigations into the AstraZeneca-associated blood clots “showed real and serious side-effects,” Danish health agency head Soren Brostrom told a news briefing.
“We have therefore chosen to continue the vaccination programme for all target groups without this vaccine.”
Astrazeneca said it respected Denmark’s choice and would continue to provide it with data to inform future decisions.
The head of Denmark’s medicine agency tanja erichson collapsed during an announcement of the discontinuation of astra zeneca pic.twitter.com/yFBNhPj5jr
— maximus (@MelanieMusey) April 15, 2021