Several regions in Germany have suspended the use of the vaccine in people under 60, after reports of new cases of blood clotting among those who had previously received the vaccine. Data from the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute on Tuesday indicated that there have been 31 suspected cases of blood clots in the brain after vaccination with the jab, with all but two being women aged 20 to 63.
Abnormally low platelets, which help blood clot, were reported in 19 cases, and nine people died.
State and federal officials were meeting late into Tuesday evening to discuss the issue. Berlin’s state government has said that a new recommendation is expected from the committee that advises on vaccination use, as well as a decision from the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute on the use of the jab in the short term. German media cited a draft report from the committee, recommending halting the jab in under 60s across the country.
Berlin, Brandenburg and Munich, meanwhile, have already taken the precautionary measure to suspend the use of the jab for under 60s. The announcements came following Berlin’s state-owned Charité hospital, as well as clinics in the Vivantes group, earlier on Tuesday saying that they were halting the use of the vaccine in women under 55.
The district of Euskirchen, which is near Bonn, first suspended the vaccine in women under 55 on Monday, after the death of a 47-year-old woman and a 28-year-old becoming ill.
The change in policy comes after Germany resumed vaccinations with the jab following concerns about a possible linkage to blood clotting incidents. Just under two weeks ago, the European Medicines Agency said that the vaccine is safe and that its benefits far outweigh the risks. Germany previously had not given the vaccine to people 65 and over, citing insufficient evidence on the vaccine’s efficacy in that age group at the time.
On March 29, Canada’s vaccination committee recommended suspending the jab for people under 55, citing reports coming out of Europe of blood clotting incidents.
The suspensions also come in the wake of a March 28 pre-print report from researchers in Germany, Canada and Austria, including a scientist at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, which linked the vaccine to the development of a blood clotting disorder.
However, some academics have said that the paper’s implication of a causal association isn’t backed up by evidence. Describing the causative conclusion as “insecure,” Adam Finn, professor of pediatrics at the University of Bristol, called for information on the incidence and mechanism of the blood clotting