Italy suspends AstraZeneca vaccine for those under 60
ROME, June 11 (Reuters) – The Italian government said on Friday it was restricting the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people over the age of 60, after a teenager who had received the vaccine died of a rare form of blood clotting.
Camilla Canepa died on Thursday at the age of 18 after receiving the vaccine on May 25, triggering a media and political outcry against Anglo-Swedish society shooting used on adults of all ages despite previously raised medical concerns.
“AstraZeneca will only be used for people over 60,” the country’s special COVID commissioner Francesco Figliuolo told reporters.
People under the age of 60 who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca should be given a different vaccine for the second dose, the government’s chief medical adviser Franco Locatelli said at the same press conference.
“The assessment of risks and benefits has changed,” Locatelli said, not to mention the death of Canepa, who suffered from a low platelet count, brain hemorrhage and abdominal blood clots.
AstraZeneca was not immediately available for comment.
Like many European countries, Italy briefly halted AstraZeneca inoculations in March due to rare blood clotting problems, mainly in young people. Read more
He took them up the following month with the recommendation that the product be “preferably” used for people over 60, after the European medicines regulator said the benefits of the jab outweighed the risks.
Several other European countries have also stopped giving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people under a certain age, usually between 50 and 65 years old. read more
However, as the government of Mario Draghi sought to step up its vaccination campaign, some Italian regions launched “open days” where the AstraZeneca vaccine was given to people of all ages from 18 years old.
These included young women who are the group considered most at risk for extremely rare blood clotting disorders.
The inoculation events, often held in the evenings and on weekends, were in part aimed at preventing doses of AstraZeneca from being wasted amid widespread reports of older people rejecting the product and canceling their vaccination appointments.
Around 46% of people in Italy have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 23% are fully vaccinated, figures broadly in line with most other EU countries.
Reporting by Gavin Jones, editing by Angelo Amante
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