Germany suspends use of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine for under-60s

Germany suspends use of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine for under-60s

Federal and state health authorities in Germany have agreed to suspend routine use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 for people under the age of 60 because of the risk of a type of rare blood clot.

Germany halts routine use of AstraZeneca jab for under-60s

After an emergency meeting called on Tuesday evening, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn announced that he and the health ministers of the 16 federal states had decided to halt routine use of the vaccine for the under-60s age group. Earlier in the day, authorities in the states of Berlin and Munich had also opted to halt its use on younger people

People under the age of 60 can still decide to receive the jab, but only “at the discretion of doctors, and after individual risk analysis and thorough explanation,” the ministers concluded in a policy statement. 

The decision came shortly after Germany’s vaccine commission, STIKO, recommended that use of the shot be halted for under-60s because of “currently available data on the occurrence of rare but very serious thrombosis-related side effects” in younger people who had received the vaccine. 

STIKO also said it would issue guidelines on what to do for adults aged under 60 who have already received one AstraZeneca shot and are due another before the end of April. 

Merkel says all suspicions must be investigated

Speaking later in the day, Angela Merkel defended the move, saying that it would do more to damage people’s trust in vaccines if Germany simply swept concerns under the carpet. “Trust comes from the knowledge that every suspicion, every single case will be looked into,” she said.

Both the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency have insisted that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective, but its use has nonetheless been suspended in several countries worldwide over concerns about blood clotting. 

Germany’s medicines regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, has reported 31 cases of cerebral sinus vein thrombosis (CSVT) among the nearly 2,7 million people who have received an AstraZeneca jab. Apart from two, all of the cases reportedly involve younger and middle-aged women. Nine people have died. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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