AIFA stops AstraZeneca jab as precautionary measure (6)

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(ANSA) – ROME, MAR 15 – Italian drugs agency AIFA suspended
the use of the jab across the country on Monday as a
precautionary measure pending a ruling from the European
Medicines Agency, in line with several other countries.
    The decision was taken after talks between Premier Mario Draghi
and Health Minster Roberto Speranza, ministry sources said.
    Speranza voiced confidence that EMA will “clear things up as
soon as possible”.
    AIFA Director-General Nicola Magrini said the suspension was a
precaution and the vaccine had shown itself to be safe.
    “Those who have had it should rest assured,” he said.
    AIFA said it would in due course issue instructions for people
who have had the first shot in order to complete the cycle.
    Meanwhile, Carabinieri NAS health police started seizing doses
of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from a batch that officials in
the northern region of Piedmont suspended the use of on Sunday.
    Piedmont banned the use of that batch as a precautionary measure
following the death of a clarinet teacher after he had the
vaccine.
    Prosecutors in Biella have opened a manslaughter probe in the
death of the teacher, Sandro Tognatti, and seized batches of jab
shots nationwide.
    Several countries have suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine
or of specific batches of it in relation to fears about blood
clots and other possible side effects.
    Last week Italian medicines agency AIFA suspended another batch
following reports of a sailor and a policeman dying in Sicily
after taking the vaccine.
    They were followed by another officer in Sicily and a school
janitor and teacher in Campania, making six such deaths in all
in Italy.
    On Monday the family of a 54-year-old Neapolitan woman, Sonia
Battaglia, said she was in critical condition after having a
shot of the suspended batch last week.
    AIFA stressed that the suspension was a precautionary measure
and that a causal link between the “severe adverse events” and
the vaccinations had not been established.
    Health Minister Roberto Sperenza has said the COVID-19 vaccines
being used in Italy are safe and the World Health Organization
has defended the AstraZeneca jab.
    France, Germany, Thailand, Norway, Iceland, Bulgaria,
Luxembourg, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia have stopped giving
the jab, developed with Oxford University, over blood-clot
concerns, while Austria has joined Italy in stopping certain
batches.
    EMA is expected to rule on the safety of the jab by the end of
the week. (ANSA).
   

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