The Swedish health authority said Tuesday that it was pausing AstraZeneca’s use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine as a “precautionary measure” pending an investigation into possible side effects following reports of blood clots in people who received the shot.
“There is good knowledge of this vaccine, but it is still important that we stop vaccination until EMA [European Medicines Agency] has investigated whether these events could be related to the impacts, ”said Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s state epidemiologist.
Read: Germany and France are the latest countries to stop using the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for blood clot problems
The decision came after major European countries – including Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands – stopped AstraZeneca vaccine administration due to safety concerns.
Both World health organization and the European Medicines Agency have said there is no link between AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company developed with researchers from Oxford University, and reported blood clots.
EMA executive director Emer Cooke reiterated the message on Tuesday, saying it was “no information” The AstraZeneca vaccine caused blood clots.
“We remain strong belief that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with the associated risk of hospitalization and death, outweigh the risk of these side effects,” Cooke said at a news conference Tuesday.
WHO vaccination safety experts will meet later Tuesday to discuss the vaccine. The EMA’s security committee has called an extraordinary meeting for Thursday to decide on further recommendations.
“We remain strong belief that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with the associated risk of hospitalization and death, outweigh the risk of these side effects.”
Cooke added that the number of thromboembolic cases does not appear to be higher than in the general population.
AZN, + 3.21%
said on Sunday that it conducted a review that included more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and the UK, which it showed no proof an increased risk of blood clots.
Shares in AstraZeneca
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which are down 1.52% so far this year, traded 3.35% higher in the late morning of Tuesday’s London trade.
Read: Buy AstraZeneca for potentially “inconclusive” vaccine trial data, Jefferies says
The European suspensions will put pressure on the vaccination efforts of the 27-member bloc that have been plagued by Supply bottlenecks, partly due to manufacturing issues in some factories in the block.
Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic and Ukraine all announced they would continue to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine, while Thailand announced that the vaccine would be used on Tuesday after a brief delay in the introduction of safety concerns.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood by AstraZeneca’s vaccine, saying health experts and scientists had assured him that all vaccines administered in the country were safe and effective. “So the best vaccine you can take is the first one that is offered to you,” he said on Monday.