Cyprus is one of 17 countries which received a controversial batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine which Austria stopped using after the death of a woman, and the health ministry said it was keeping its consignment on hold as a precaution.
“There is nothing to worry about,” deputy director of the pharmaceutical services Elena Panayiotopoulou told the Cyprus Mail on Thursday. “This batch is on hold and has not been used as a precautionary measure. Indications are it is not problematic, but we are waiting for final confirmation.”
Around 10,000 doses are being held back.
Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden received the batch which comprises one million doses of the vaccine.
News reports said on Monday a 49-year-old nurse in Zwettl, a town northwest of Vienna, died as a result of severe coagulation disorders 10 days 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.
“There is currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions, which are not listed as side effects with this vaccine,” the health ministry announced.
“The information available so far indicates that the number of thromboembolic events in vaccinated people is no higher than that seen in the general population.”
Four countries, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Denmark and Lativa, subsequently suspended this batch as a precautionary measure, while a full investigation is ongoing.
“EMA’s safety committee PRAC (European Medicines Agency’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee) is reviewing this issue; it is investigating the cases reported with the batch as well as all other cases of thromboembolic events, and other conditions related to blood clots, reported post-vaccination,” the health ministry’s announcement read.
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”.
European Union regulators approved the AstraZeneca shot the end of January, saying it was effective and safe to use, while the World Health Organisation in mid-February listed it for emergency use.