AMSTERDAM - The Netherlands will suspend the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine until at least March 29 as a precaution, the Dutch government said on Sunday.
The move, which follows a similar decision by Ireland earlier in the day, is based on reports from Denmark and Norway of possible serious side effects, the government said.
Three health workers in Norway who had recently received the vaccine were being treated in hospital for bleeding, blood clots and a low count of blood platelets, its health authorities said on Saturday.
No such cases had been found yet in the Netherlands, the Dutch Health ministry said in a statement, adding that there was no proof yet of a direct link between the vaccine and the reports from Denmark and Norway.
The government said it would now wait for an investigation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
"We can't allow any doubts about the vaccine," Dutch Health minister Hugo de Jonge said.
"We have to make sure everything is right, so it is wise to pause for now."
The Dutch late last week said there was no reason to stop using the vaccine, following reports of the formation of blood clots in some people who had been injected with it.
The EMA and the World Health Organisation have said there is no indication that these events were caused by the vaccination, and AstraZeneca has also said it had found no evidence of increased risk of deep-vein thrombosis. (Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Diane Craft)