The German cities of Berlin and Munich on Tuesday suspended vaccinations with the AstraZeneca jab under the age of 60, as further reports of blood clots appear among people who have had it.
“We are temporarily stopping vaccinations with AstraZeneca for the 60s,” said Berlin’s health minister Dilek Kalayci, referring to “new side effects data”.
She said it was a “precautionary measure” pending an official recommendation from federal health authorities.
The southern city of Munich announced its own shutdown shortly afterwards and reports suggested that the Brandenburg region had followed suit.
Germany’s regional and federal health ministers will meet at short notice on Tuesday night with the Vaccine Commission, which is expected to issue a new recommendation soon.
“We have no serious cases of side effects in Berlin,” Kalayci said, adding that “anyone who has already received a first shock from AstraZeneca has very good protection.”
Germany’s drug regulator Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) has now reported 31 cases of blood clots in people who have received AstraZeneca, the newspaper Spiegel reported on Tuesday.
Almost all cases are reportedly younger and middle-aged women, which led several German hospitals to discontinue the use of jab for women under 55 this week.
A clinic in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, said it stopped AstraZeneca jabs to investigate two reported cases of thrombosis, while Berlin’s Charité hospital extended its suspension to all in the 1960s following Kalayci’s announcement.
On Monday, Canada also recommended stopping the use of jab for under-55s “pending further analysis.”
The AstraZeneca vaccine has taken the roller coaster, with the UK developing it, strongly supporting its use, South Africa immediately rejected it, and more than a dozen EU nations suspended shots in mid-March before most restarted rollouts but with a patchwork quilt. of age restrictions.
France has limited its use to over 55 years, while Spain to under 65 years.
Germany’s vaccination campaign has been sluggish, with official figures showing that about 11 percent of the population has received a first dose so far.