Italy bans batch of AstraZeneca vaccine
Italy's medicine regulator said Thursday it was banning a batch of the AstraZeneca/Oxford coronavirus vaccine following fears of a link to blood clots that sparked suspensions elsewhere in Europe.
"Following the reporting of some serious adverse events... AIFA has decided, as a precaution, to issue a ban on the use of this batch throughout the national territory," AIFA said in a statement.
It said that it "reserves the right to take further measures, if necessary," in coordination with the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
But it stressed that at the moment there had been no established link between the administration of the vaccine and the alleged side-effects.
The batch mentioned by the Italian regulator, batch ABV2856, is different to that suspended by Austria on Monday, which was named by the EMA as batch ABV5300.
AIFA said in a previous statement that ABV5300 was not distributed in Italy. It was not immediately clear why the other batch had been banned, or if that was the only AstraZeneca batch being used in Italy currently.
On Monday, Austria announced it had suspended the use of the particular AstraZeneca batch, after a 49-year-old nurse died of severe blood coagulation days after receiving the shot.
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg have also suspended the use of the particular batch, which was sent to 17 European countries and consisted of one million jabs.
Denmark, Norway and Iceland on Thursday went further, suspending the use of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine.
An AstraZeneca spokesperson said the vaccine had been "extensively studied in Phase III clinical trials", adding that "peer-reviewed data confirms the vaccine has been generally well tolerated".
On Wednesday, the EMA said a preliminary probe showed that the batch of AstraZeneca vaccines used in Austria was likely not to blame for the nurse's death.