Cyprus is not planning any actions as regards the AstraZeneca vaccine and will wait for official results of an investigation into a batch that Austria stopped using following a death and an illness after two people got the jab, the health ministry said on Tuesday.
The batch stopped by Austria was sent to 17 countries that were not named, therefore it is unknown if any ended up in Cyprus.
According to Reuters, a 49-year-old nurse in Zwettl, a town northwest of Vienna, died as a result of severe coagulation disorders after receiving the vaccine. Another nurse from Zwettl who is 35 and received a dose from the same batch, ABV 5300, developed a pulmonary embolism and is recovering.
“We informed all European colleagues in the European network as this batch, which amounted to roughly a million doses in total, was sent to 17 European countries,” Christa Wirthumer-Hoche, the head of Austrian public health agency AGES’ medicines market supervisory body, told a news conference.
The European Medicines Agency’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC), which monitors the safety of medicines, discussed the case on Monday, said Wirthumer-Hoche, who also heads EMA’s management board.
She did not identify the countries or say what steps, if any, they had taken. AstraZeneca has said it is in contact with Austrian authorities and will fully support the investigation.
The Anglo-Swedish company has said all batches are subject to strict and rigorous quality controls and that there have been “no confirmed serious adverse events associated with the vaccine”.
An autopsy of the nurse is being carried out and Wirthumer-Hoche said she expected the results next week. AstraZeneca has said it is in contact with Austrian authorities and will fully support the investigation.
“Authorities must first prove the death and illness was related to the vaccine as there were similar cases in the past when health complications were proven not to be due to the Covid-19 vaccine,” health ministry spokeswoman Margarita Kyriacou told the Cyprus Mail on Tuesday.
Kyriacou said the AstraZeneca vaccine had not caused any serious side effects to people who received it in Cyprus. “We did not have any report of side effects or death in Cyprus from anyone who was vaccinated.”
European Union regulators approved the AstraZeneca shot the end of January, saying it was effective and safe to use, while the World Health Organization in mid-February listed it for emergency use.