Berlin state hospitals halt AstraZeneca vaccinations of women under 55

The company logo for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S.

Berlin’s state hospital groups Charite and Vivantes have stopped giving women under the age of 55 shots of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, spokeswomen for the hospitals said on Tuesday.

The moves follow reports of rare but serious blood clots, bleeding and in some cases death after vaccination, mainly in young women.

“From the Charité’s point of view, this step is necessary because in the meantime further cerebral venous thromboses have become known in women in Germany,” a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Charite said the action was precautionary while they waited for final assessments. No complications have occurred in its hospitals following vaccinations with AstraZeneca.

A spokeswoman for Vivantes clinics also said the move to pause the shot for younger women was a precautionary measure.

Some 19,000 people work at the Charite hospitals and 17,000 at Vivantes, which operates clinics as well as care homes.

Tagesspiegel, which first reported the decision, said that around two thirds of staff at Charite have been vaccinated so far, and 70% of those workers have received one shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Many European countries briefly stopped using the Anglo-Swedish firm’s vaccine while investigating the blood clot incidents earlier this month.

Nearly all countries have since resumed use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. But France broke with guidance from the European medical regulator and said on March 19 it should only be given to people aged 55 or older. France said the decision was based on evidence that the clotting affected younger people.

Canadian Health Officials said on Monday they would stop offering AstraZeneca’s shot to people aged under 55 and require a new analysis of the shot’s benefits and risks based on age and gender.

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