Slovenian experts say no reasons to suspend vaccination with AstraZeneca

Ljubljana – The Covid-19 vaccination advisory group of the National Public Health Institute (NIJZ) has said that, for the time being, there are not reasons to suspend vaccination with any of the Covid-19 vaccines, with monitoring showing that they do not cause blood clots and, if they do, this happens very rarely.

The opinion published on Friday comes after a few EU member states suspended the administration of AstraZeneca vaccine out of precaution after some vaccinated persons developed complications related to blood clots.

First, administration of a certain series of AstraZeneca vaccine was suspended in Austria, with the reason being the death of a 49-year-old-nurse and pulmonary embolism developing in a 35-year-old following vaccination with that vaccine.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said that preliminary studies show that the death of the nurse was not related to the vaccination. By 10 March, 30 cases of complications due to blood clots were registered in almost five million people vaccinated in the EU.

The current statistics shows that the number of cases with such complications after vaccination does not exceed the expected incidence of such complications in the population that has not been vaccinated.

The NIJZ advisory group, led by infectious diseases specialist Bojana Beović, noted that the frequency of complications due to blood clots highly depended on age, with the frequency in the general population standing at 100-200 cases per million people. It is known that these complications frequently occur also in persons who are battling Covid-19.

It added that no complications due to blood clots were recorded in Slovenia so far after vaccination with AstraZeneca, which was administered more than 23,700 times in Slovenia until 7 March. Four cases were recorded after vaccination with Pfizer, the vaccine which was used almost 174,500 times by that date.

The announcement comes after a primary school in Velenje closed today as it was not able to ensure enough teachers for the teaching process after 26 teachers took sick leave due to strong reaction to the vaccine they received yesterday.

Mild side effects are somewhat desired as they show the organism is responding properly to the vaccine, but we want them as light as possible to prevent a scare among people that there is something wrong with the vaccine, Health Minister Janez Poklukar told the press today.

He added that there were no dramatic differences in reported undesired effects of the various coronavirus vaccines.

Yesterday he told a TV news show that he would also get vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

So far, Slovenia has been using three vaccines approved by the EMA, those developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca, while it has also great hopes for Johnson & Johnson’s, which the EMA approved yesterday.