German government suspends AstraZeneca vaccinations

COVID-19 vaccinations German government suspends AstraZeneca vaccinations

On the basis of the latest recommendation of the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), the German government has decided to temporarily suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a precaution. The PEI believes that further investigations are necessary.

 AstraZeneca' COVID-19 vaccine

Both the first vaccination and the follow-up shots will be affected by the decision to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Photo: imago images/TT/Johan Nilsson

COVID-19 vaccinations using the AstraZeneca vaccine have been temporarily suspended, as a precaution, on the basis of a recommendation of the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI). The PEI is of the opinion that further investigations are needed. The Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn explained, “Today’s decision is a purely precautionary measure.” Germany will now await the results of further analysis and evaluation. The outcome is open.

More investigations needed

Several European states had already stopped administering the AstraZeneca vaccine against the background of newly reported cases of cerebral vein thrombosis in temporal proximity to vaccinations using the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. This led the PEI to reassess the situation and recommend that administration of the vaccine be temporarily suspended as a precautionary measure while further investigations are conducted. The suspension affects both first vaccination and the second shot. 

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will decide whether and how the new findings impact on the authorisation of the vaccine. Once the scientific investigations have been completed and the EMA has come to a decision, it can be decided whether to resume vaccinations.

What do I need to watch if I have had the AstraZeneca vaccine?

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When do side effects occur?openMinimise
Can those who have only had the first vaccination receive a different vaccine for the second shot?openMinimise

The Federal Ministry of Health answers other key questions about the suspension of the use of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine in FAQs here.

“We must give the experts time to investigate the recent cases”

“To uphold confidence in the vaccine, we need to give our experts in Germany and in the European Union time to review the most recent cases,” said Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn. They must also clarify whether the benefits of the vaccination still outweigh any risks. Because one thing is clear – not vaccinating also has serious health consequences.”

PEI President Klaus Cichutek explained that German findings must now be discussed in a European context, and compared with European data. “I believe that citizens want to be able to rely on the fact that the vaccines we offer are safe and effective,” he said.

You can find more information on the website of the Paul Ehrlich Institute.