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Netherlands halts use of AstraZeneca vaccine for people under 60

The Netherlands has stopped administering Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccinations until April 7.

On Friday, the Dutch health ministry said it would temporarily stop inoculations for people below the age of 60. But after talks on Saturday, health departments decided to suspend all AstraZeneca jabs to avoid waste.

Some 700 people above the age of 60 were due to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine in the coming days, but their appointments were also temporarily cancelled, as there were no guarantees that a full batch could be entirely used if only a few people were to receive jabs.

The decision comes days after authorities in Germany also stopped using AstraZeneca’s vaccine in the below-60s, citing fresh concerns over unusual blood clots reported in a tiny number of those who received the shots.

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Earlier on Friday, a Dutch organisation that monitors vaccine side effects said it had received five reports of blood clots with low blood platelet counts following vaccinations. DPA news agency reported that one person died.

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