Denmark has become the first country in the world to totally ban the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine over its possible link to extremely rare cases of blood clots.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and European medicines watchdog reviewed the possible risk and despite declaring a 0.000095% chance of a developing a clot the Scandinavian nation has ditched the jab completely.
Denmark was also the first country to suspend the AstraZeneca jab in March but has continued administering the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
In Denmark, two cases of thrombosis, one fatal, were linked to vaccinations after more than 140,000 people received the jab.
Denmark is preparing to reopen schools, restaurants, shopping malls and cultural activities to its 5.8 million people as the daily infection rate has slowed to 500 to 600 a day from several thousand in December.
So far 8% of its population are fully vaccinated and 17% have had their first dose.
Last week the European Union’s drug watchdog said the risk of dying from Covid-19 was “much greater” than the risk of mortality from rare side effects of the jab.
The jab has id less dangerous than many commonplace medicines such as the contraceptive pill.
But the regulator let it to individual countries to make their own risk assessments and decide if they want to continue administering AstraZeneca.
Danish Health agency head Soren Brostrom said results of the review into the blood clots “showed real and serious side effects”.
He said: “Based on an overall consideration, we have therefore chosen to continue the vaccination programme for all target groups without this vaccine.
“The upcoming target groups for vaccination are less likely to become severely ill from Covid-19.
“We must weigh this against the fact that we now have a known risk of severe adverse effects from vaccination with AstraZeneca, even if the risk in absolute terms is slight.”
Germany has also stopped giving the jab for under-60s, while France has done the same for people under the age of 55.
Plus both countries have advised younger adults that have received their first AstraZeneca jab to get a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
On Wednesday Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission chief, said the EU is relying more on the BioNTech/Pfizer jab after Johnson & Johnson suspended its vaccine over blood clot fears.
The vaccine rollout in the EU has been shambolic so fears have arisen that Denmark’s decision to drop AstraZenica could make things worse.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s Covid Vaccine tracker just 19.4 per cent of the EU’s adult population have received their first jab compared to the UK where the figure is 50%.
WHO has called the EU rollout “unacceptably slow”.