By Alyssa McMurtry
OVIEDO, Spain (AA) - Spain’s Castile and Leon region has suspended the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for the second time, the regional government announced on Wednesday.
Previously, the vaccine was put on pause in the region, and later across Spain, from March 12 to March 24 over reports of rare blood clotting cases.
This time, the regional government said the decision came ahead of the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) updated statement on the vaccine, which is expected later in the day.
“We can’t run the risk of continuing to use the product knowing that there are questions about who it should be used for and risking adverse reactions,” Veronica Casado, regional health minister told local press.
Spain’s AstraZeneca age policy is the complete opposite of countries like France, Canada, or the Netherlands, where the jabs are only given to people older than 55 or 60 years old out of concern over potentially dangerous side effects.
Most cases of the cerebral blood clots that the EMA is studying for a potential link to the vaccine have occurred in younger women.
Meanwhile, Spain is giving the AstraZeneca vaccine out to people younger than 65, unless they are essential workers. The rationale for this, according to Spain’s medical agency, is a lack of efficacy data for the vaccine in the elderly.
Castile and Leon’s decision came just a day after Marco Cavaleri, chair of the vaccine evaluation team at the EMA, told an Italian newspaper that there was a “clear” association between cerebral blood clots and the vaccine.
Spain’s regional governments will be meeting with the Spanish Health Ministry later Wednesday following the EMA’s expected announcement.