Vaccinations of people under the age of 60 with the AstraZeneca vaccine will not be resumed in the Netherlands for now.
The Minister for Health, Hugo de Jonge, announced this yesterday after receiving advice from the Health Council, reports RTL Nieuws. People under the age of 60 who have already received their first AstraZeneca shot can still get the second one.
Benefits outweigh the risks
While the European Medicines Agency concluded that thrombosis is likely a very rare side effect of the vaccine, it also believes that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
This is especially the case for older age groups. As a result, those above 60 can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine because the risks associated with the coronavirus are much higher for this age group than the risks of serious side effects from the vaccine.
Young women and AstraZeneca
The risks are less balanced for young women in particular. For them, the risk of suffering serious side effects from the vaccine is potentially higher than the risk of dying from coronavirus, reports NU.nl.
“A chance [of contracting serious side effects from the vaccine] of one in a few hundred thousand is of course very small. But young women also have a very small chance of dying from corona, about one in a half-million or one in a million. And then that balance is suddenly very different,” says Bart-Jan Kullberg, President of the Health Council of the Netherlands.
He adds that “the EMA does not give advice to whom you should give which vaccine. The EMA is examining whether that vaccine is still permissible at all.”
No smooth sailing
The story of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the Netherlands has been a turbulent one.
There has also been considerable criticism from thrombosis experts about not being involved in the decisions around the AstraZeneca vaccine. “The decision to stop came like a bolt from the blue,” says thrombosis expert Saskia Middeldorp.
How do you feel about this development? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Feature Image: Aaron Sousa/Unsplash