Germany Ceases AstraZeneca Vaccinations Over Potential Health Risks
Germany will administer the AstraZeneca vaccine only for people aged 60 and over. The Standing Committee on Vaccination had previously made a corresponding recommendation.
According to a decision by the federal and state health ministers, the AstraZeneca corona vaccine is only to be used for people aged 60 and over. Under 60-year-olds should be able to continue to be vaccinated with it “at the medical discretion and in the case of an individual risk analysis after careful explanation”, as the decision shows. The vaccine can now be used for all people over 60, regardless of their priority group: “The federal states are free to include 60 to 69-year-olds in their vaccination campaign for this vaccine,” it says.
The German government’s Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) had previously changed its age recommendation for the vaccine. As the experts explained, this is done “based on the currently available data on the occurrence of rare but very severe thromboembolic side effects” in younger people who have been vaccinated. Specifically, it concerns 31 cases of cerebral vein thrombosis connected with vaccinations, mainly in women under 55.
STIKO plans to issue a supplementary recommendation by the end of April to administer the second dose to people under 60 years of age who have already received the first vaccination with AstraZeneca. Until then, studies should be evaluated as to whether a second vaccination is also possible with an mRNA vaccine, such as from BioNTech.
Previously, the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin and Brandenburg had temporarily suspended vaccinations with AstraZeneca for under 60-year-olds. The city of Munich also decided to cease vaccinations with AstraZeneca.
According to the RKI’s vaccination rate monitoring, around 2.7 million first doses and 767-second doses have been vaccinated by AstraZeneca so far.
On Tuesday evening, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn wanted to consult with the Minister-Presidents of the federal states about how to deal with the vaccine. The German press office announced a press conference – following an “information meeting with the heads of government of the federal states on the further use of the AstraZeneca vaccine”.
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