In an unprecedented move, several European countries are looking at COVID-19 vaccines mix up for people who have received the first dose of AstraZeneca Plc’s (NASDAQ: AZN) shot, as the bloc is struggling to tame fresh rises in infections, reports Reuters
After a small number of reports, vaccination programs have been upset that recipients of the AstraZeneca inoculation have suffered extremely rare blood clots.
A senior official for the European Medicines Agency said in an Italian newspaper there was a link between the vaccine and rare blood clots in the brain, but the possible causes were still unknown.
The EMA said that an updated review of the vaccine was ongoing. Findings from its investigation are expected on Wednesday.
While many countries have resumed using the shot, some have imposed age restrictions.
In the U.K., officials are considering restricting the usage of the vaccine in people under 30. Germany suspended using AZN shot for people under 60.
In many instances, people who received the first dose of AstraZeneca are no longer eligible under the new rules.
While the numbers are small compared with millions being inoculated, the decision is significant because it has not been tested in late-stage human trials.
Any divergence to the EMA’s marketing authorization would also be considered as “off label use”, meaning it would not be approved by the regulator and leave individual countries responsible for any possible side-effects.
Health advisory body in charge of defining the use of vaccines, the Haute Autorité de la Santé (HAS), is also contemplating deploying Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) - BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX) or Moderna Inc’s (NASDAQ: MRNA) vaccines as a second dose, according to two sources.
In a separate move, the University of Oxford paused a small U.K. trial testing the COVID-19 vaccine it developed with AstraZeneca in children and teenagers, as it waits for more data on rare blood clotting issues in adults who received the shot.
There were no safety concerns in the pediatric trial, Oxford University said.
Price Action: AZN shares are trading 0.2% lower at $49.11 in the premarket session on the last check Wednesday.
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