Only for over-60s? Belgian experts will review AstraZeneca vaccine again
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Only for over-60s? Belgian experts will review AstraZeneca vaccine again

Credit: Belga

As Germany became the latest country in line to only use AstraZeneca’s vaccine for people over 60 years old from now on, Belgian health authorities will take another look at the vaccine on Wednesday evening.

Following the decision by the German authorities on Tuesday evening, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will meet again with all health councils of the EU Member States to discuss the German decision on Wednesday.

After that, Belgium’s Superior Health Council will meet with experts from the Vaccination Taskforce and members of the federal medicines agency (FAMHP) to consider possible new info, spokesperson for the vaccination taskforce Gudrun Briat confirmed to The Brussels Times.

“It is not yet clear whether a new decision on the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine will be made tonight,” she said, stressing that in the meantime, Belgium will continue administering the vaccine as before.

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On Tuesday evening, Germany decided to suspend its vaccinations with AstraZeneca – now called ‘Vaxzevria’ – for people under 60 years old, as 31 out of 2.7 million vaccinated people developed a rare venous sinus thrombosis – almost all of them patients under the age of 60, and most of them women.

A new recommendation from the European agency – which only recently re-confirmed that the vaccine was safe and effective following reports of blood clotting – is not expected until next week, according to local media.

“In the past, Belgium has always based itself on the advice of the European Medicines Agency,” Briat said.

“Based on that, we will give advice to Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke,” vaccinologist and member of both the Health Council and the Vaccination Taskforce Pierre Van Damme, told VRT. “We are following it closely.”

Data from Belgium’s federal medicines agency (FAMHP) shows that no cases of that kind of thrombosis had been reported here by 23 March.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times