Denmark’s AstraZeneca Vaccine Doses up for Grabs

CDC Panel Extends J&J Vaccine Pause

16.04.2021 - Denmark has taken what it said was a final decision to discontinue using the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in its national inoculation campaign after an unusual string of rare blood clots. A discussion has begun over what to do with the remaining supply.

The country currently has just over 200,000 vaccines, but is set to receive another 3.5 million under existing orders, Reuters reported, without specifying whether all were AstraZeneca shots.

While some argued that the vaccine should be made available to Danes willing to take it, and the government has asked health authorities to examine this option, World Bank President David Malpass has called on countries on with excess doses of Covid-19 vaccines to donate them to low-income countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been pressing countries not to hoard vaccines they don’t intend to use.

Norway, which suspended its AstraZeneca rollout on Mar. 11, has said it needs more information before deciding whether to resume it. The country’s public health institute has recommended ending the use of the vaccine, but health minister Bent Hoeie said the government doesn’t have enough evidence to draw a final conclusion. A public commission will be appointed to broaden the evaluation, including information from other countries, and report by May 10.

The governments of both Lithuania and the Czech Republic have said they are eager to take the doses because they don’t have enough.  "We are looking for vaccines all over the world, we are willing to buy AstraZeneca from Denmark," Czech health minister Jan Hamacek wrote in a tweet, while Latvia said it would contact Denmark about how to apply for the vaccines.

Reports said it is not yet clear whether such swap or purchase deals are possible and permitted under EU procurement rules.

US pause on J&J in place for at least a week

On Apr. 15, an advisory panel for the US Centers for Disease Control declined to vote on whether to resume US use of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine, as health agencies gather more information about the types of people who may be at most risk. US news reports said it was uncertain when the panel would reconvene, but most likely before its next regular meeting scheduled for May 5.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it expects to make a recommendation about the use of the J&J vaccine next week. It also is due to provide more information about who should receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, following a request from EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist