Spain to keep using AstraZeneca vaccine, no blood clot cases reported

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain has registered no cases of blood clots related to AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine so far and will continue administering the shot, Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during a vaccination rollout for teachers in Ronda, Spain February 25, 2021. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

She spoke shortly after Danish health authorities suspended using the vaccine produced by Anglo-Swedish firm AstraZeneca after several cases of blood clots, including one death.

Darias told La Sexta TV that minor side-effects from the shot had been reported in Spain and that she was aware of cases of blood clots in Austria, but “so far, no causal relation between the vaccine and the blood clot events has been established”.

Europe’s EMA drug regulator subsequently backed the vaccine, saying its benefits outweighed the risks.

Spain, which has only approved the shot for 18- to 55-year- olds, said it would wait for more data from the EMA before considering whether to follow other European countries and broaden the age range.

Infections have fallen to their lowest since August after retreating rapidly from a third wave that peaked in January, but the rate of decline is slowing.

As measured over the past 14 days the number of cases per 100,000 people reached 132 on Thursday, edging down from 134 the day before.

The government reported 6,255 new infections, bringing the total to nearly 3.2 million, while deaths increased by 166 to 72,085.

With transmission falling and the vaccine roll-out gathering pace, some regions are lifting restrictions.

From March 15, Catalonia will allow non-essential small shops to open at weekends and let people who live together move freely within the region. Residents are currently confined to their county except for work or health reasons.

With an average of 170 cases per 100,00 people in the past 14 days, Catalonia has one of Spain’s highest infection rates.

During two upcoming holiday weekends all mainland Spanish regions apart from Madrid have agreed to ban non-essential travel across their borders to prevent a resurgence.

Reporting by Inti Landauro, Joan Faus and Nathan Allen; Editing by Andrei Khalip, Mark Heinrich and Giles Elgood