The Norwegian government has confirmed media reports that it will continue to suspend the use of the heavily criticized AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, and has promised a decision will be made in three weeks.
“We have decided to continue the pause and make a new decision by April 15,” said Camilla Stoltenberg, Director General of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, on Friday, as she addressed speculation around the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“We have started several processes to map out whether there is a causality and to have a better basis to establish the real risk and a cost-benefit analysis for different age groups. To get more knowledge, it is necessary to have more time,” the health service chief told broadcaster NRK.
The decision comes one day after Denmark’s health authority said the country would extend the temporary suspension of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine for three more weeks, as it can’t rule out a connection between the jab and blood clots.
Like Denmark, Norway suspended the vaccine on March 11 following reports the jab, in very rare cases, caused potentially fatal thromboembolic events. As many as 18 nations paused the use of the Anglo-Swedish shot before the European Medicines Agency (EMA) declared the vaccine “safe and effective” after a thorough review.
EMA chief Emer Cooke said last Friday that “this is a safe and effective vaccine, its benefits in protecting people from Covid-19, with the associated risks of death and hospitalization, outweigh the possible risks.”
The jab has been widely used across the globe, including in the UK, where it accounts for approximately half of the 32 million jabs administered.