Officials want to investigate whether the vaccine is related to blood clots and other rare but dangerous problems.
Denmark will extend its suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine until April 15, the Danish Health Authority announced on Thursday, as other European countries are restarting use of the vaccine.
Officials in Denmark want to further investigate whether AstraZeneca vaccine is the cause of an unusual disease picture involving low blood platelets, bleeding and blood clots in unexpected places in the body, the head of the Danish Health Authority, Soren Brostrom, said.
The European Medical Agency, the continent’s top drug regulator, said last week that it had found no sign of the vaccine causing such rare but dangerous problems, and strong evidence that its lifesaving benefits “outweigh the risk of the side effects.”
The agency announced on Thursday that it was convening a group of external medical experts to help assess the safety of the vaccine.
Denmark was the first country to suspend use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, on March 11. It has reported two deaths from brain hemorrhages among people who had received the shot.
Officials acknowledged that continuing the suspension would lead to delays in the vaccination process.
“We are very conscious that a continued hold on vaccination with the Covid-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca delays the Danish vaccination program,” Mr. Brostrom said. “However, the vaccines are already in the refrigerator. If we decide to recommence vaccination with the Covid-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, we can quickly distribute and use the vaccines.”