Austrian authorities have suspended the use of a batch of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine while investigating the death of one person and the illness of another after the shots.
A 49-year-old woman died as a result of severe coagulation disorders, while a 35-year-old woman developed a pulmonary embolism and is recovering.
“The Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG) has received two reports in a temporal connection with a vaccination from the same batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the district clinic of Zwettl” in Lower Austria province, the health agency said in a statement.
“Currently there is no evidence of a causal relationship with the vaccination,” BASG said.
Austrian newspaper Niederoesterreichische Nachrichten as well as broadcaster ORF and the APA news agency reported that the women were both nurses who worked at the Zwettl clinic.
BASG said blood clotting was not among the known side effects of the vaccine. It was pursuing its investigation vigorously to completely rule out any possible link.
“As a precautionary measure, the remaining stocks of the affected vaccine batch are no longer being issued or vaccinated,” it added.
An AstraZeneca spokesman said: “There have been no confirmed serious adverse events associated with the vaccine,” adding that all batches are subject to strict and rigorous quality controls.
Trials and real-world experience so far suggests the vaccine is safe and effective and it had been approved for use in well over 50 countries, he said.
The Herald had reported that a doctor at the National Hospital, Abuja, Dr. Cyprian Ngong was the first Nigerian to receive the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine doses imported into Nigeria.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) certified the 3.924m doses of the vaccine early Friday, few hours before the frontline health workers were vaccinated.