Several countries restrict AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine use

Countries around the world have put restrictions on the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine after the European Medicines Agency said April 7 that unusual blood clots combined with low blood platelets should be listed as a very rare side effect of the vaccine, The New York Times reported. 

The AstraZeneca vaccine is the most widely used vaccine around the world, though it's not approved in the U.S., the Times reported. 

Though EU regulators have said the benefits of the vaccine still outweigh the risks for most people, many countries are now using the shot only for older people at most risk of death from COVID-19. 

The Philippines has said it would temporarily stop giving the vaccine to people under 60. Belgium has said it would temporarily halt use in people under 56, and younger people will be offered a different vaccine. South Korea has said it would make a decision this weekend on whether to give it to people under age 60, the Times reported. Australia has also changed its guidance to recommend that adults under age 50 be given a different vaccine. 

Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark and Norway have all suspended use of the vaccine altogether and are waiting on more information about the risk of blood clots, according to the Times

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