Sweden to resume AstraZeneca jabs for over 65s

FILE PHOTO: Syringes are filled with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Skane University Hospital vaccination centre in Malmo, Sweden, February 17, 2021. TT News Agency/Johan Nilsson via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -Sweden will resume use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 65 and older, the health agency said on Thursday, but keep the pause in place for younger Swedes as it continues to investigate a potential link between the shots and rare cases of blood clots.

“The vaccine is of great use for the elderly, among whom many fall seriously ill each day,” Director General Johan Carlson said in a statement on the agency’s new guidelines to the regional authorities administering the vaccinations in Sweden.

“At the same time, we haven’t seen these rare and serious side effects among our elderly. That is the background to why we are lifting the suspension for people older than 65.”

Most countries which temporarily suspended the vaccine have now resumed administering shots following recommendations from the European Union’s drug watchdog and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Both the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the WHO said last week that the benefits of AstraZeneca’s vaccine outweighed the risks.

Reporting by Johan Ahlander and Niklas Pollard; editing by Simon Johnson