Eight Norwegian cases of severe coagulation were linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, and four of these recipients died, the commission said.
A government-appointed commission said Monday that Norway should exclude the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson from its inoculation program because of the risk of rare but harmful side effects.
However, those who volunteered to receive the vaccine should be allowed to do so, it said, emphasizing the importance of eliminating any vaccine hesitation.
Norway suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout on March 11 after a combination of a small number of underage inoculated people with blood clots, hemorrhage and low platelet counts.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) requested on April 15 that the AstraZeneca shots be dropped altogether but the government sought the commission’s advice on both the shooting and the J&J, which was not used in Norway despite the European Medicines Agency. (EMA) approval.
Explaining its recommendations, the commission said eight Norwegian cases of severe coagulation were linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, and four of the recipients died.
“Much emphasis must be placed on maintaining confidence in the national immunization project so that immunity can be established among the public in multiple possible rounds of immunization in the coming years,” it said.
Health Minister Bent Hoye told a news conference: “The government will use these vaccines based on a joint decision, including recommendations from the Institute of Public Health on whether to use them.”
He did not say when the government would take a decision.
The FHI on Monday cited its same rare adverse reaction to advising against the use of J and J shots.
Astrajeneka said it was awaiting a final decision from the Norwegian government.
“We will continue to co-operate with regulators and local authorities to provide all available information to inform them of their decisions,” the Reuters news agency said in a statement.
Johnson and Johnson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The first dose
Although the EMA says that the benefits of the cheap and easily transportable vaccine of AstraZeneca outweigh any risks, several European countries do not have limited use for the elderly. The EMA also supports the J&J vaccine, which is based on the AstraZeneca national technology.
Norway currently only uses vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer-Bioentech.
The FHI reported that the rate of infection was under control in Norway and that about 90 percent of people aged 655 or older received the first dose of the vaccine.
Authorities expect all adults to be offered their first shot by July 25, even without using the AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines.
Denmark has excluded AstraZeneca and J&J shots from its vaccination program. In contrast, Germany said Monday that it would make J&J shots available to all adults.