The AstraZeneca vaccine has already been given to police, pharmacists and private health workers but on Monday afternoon it’s use was suspended for 15 days, pending further research, causing the postponement of vaccinations to teachers.
The suspension completely disrupts the vaccination plans introduced by the Ministry of Health, plans that would see 300,000 people immunised against the coronavirus with the two doses at the end of March and beginning in April.
However, fifteen days prior to the end of the first quarter of the year, Health has only immunised just over half of those 300,000 people that it promised, 157,000, which is 3% of the population of the Valencian Community.
The objective of the Generalitat Valenciana was to provide a boost to these figures, starting this week, when the vaccination of teachers began, for whom the AstraZeneca vaccine was intended. Between 15-20 March it was planned to administer 159,000 doses in the Valencian Community, almost half to teaching staff.
The vaccination of this large group began on Monday in Valencia, but was interrupted two hours into the process, when the Ministry of Health decided to join other neighbouring countries and suspend use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for two weeks after detecting cases of thrombi in people who had received an inoculation. In the province of Alicante the vaccination of 40,000 teachers was to begin on Thursday.
Late on Monday afternoon, the Ministry of Health distributed an audio message from the Minister Ana Barceló, in which she stated that the suspension of vaccination with AstraZeneca “is temporary and for the minimum time until it can be resumed.”
Barceló wanted to reassure people who have already received this vaccine. “The stoppage is due to a reason of prudence.”
The Spanish Medicines Agency will now evaluate the risks of this vaccine. Barceló said that in the Valencian Community there is no record of adverse effects of this vaccine and reiterated that vaccination “is the best hope and the greatest asset against the covid.”
However, last Friday, the conselleria had to suspend a batch of these vaccines after serious adverse reactions had been detected in several EU countries.
So while the Ministry of Health suspends the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, it has confirmed that no adverse drug reactions have been reported and while AstraZeneca also says “there is no evidence” that its vaccine increases the risk of clots the vaccination of the 40,000 teachers in the province remains suspended
The stoppage of vaccinations with AstraZeneca is a real setback for a vaccination process that has not yet taken off due to a lack of doses. There are still a good many people over 80 years of age who are to receive the first dose, as well as staff from private clinics and small medical centres.
Most of the doses that are currently held in medical centres are earmarked as second doses for those over 90 who were vaccinated three weeks ago.
In some health centers in the city of Alicante, patients have even been called to cancel their appointment due to lack of vaccines.