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VACCINE

Number of thrombosis cases following AstraZeneca jab rises to 13 in Germany

The German Health Ministry announced on Thursday that a total of 13 cases of cerebral thrombosis have been reported following the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, while the number of fatalities remains at three.

Number of thrombosis cases following AstraZeneca jab rises to 13 in Germany
Photo: DPA/Rolf Vennenbernd

Twelve of the cases involved women and only one involved a man. The affected individuals were aged between 20 and 63, the health ministry has stated.

Germany paused used of the vaccine on Monday pending a review of its safety by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which arrived on Thursday afternoon.

The EMA decision stated that the AstraZeneca jab is safe to use, but from now on a warning about possible side effects will list rare instances of thrombosis.

READ ALSO: AstraZeneca vaccine is ‘safe and effective’ against Covid-19, European Medical Agency concludes

The approval by the EMA was expected by doctors and medical experts in Germany, who had nonetheless assumed that it might come with restrictions based on age or whether a woman was using contraceptive pills.

“There could perhaps be an authorisation with restrictions – for example, only for certain age groups or without simultaneous use of the pill,” said Frank Bergmann, head of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, on Thursday morning.

Health Minister Jens Spahn promised on Thursday that Germany would consider the decision of the EMA as binding, meaning that vaccinations with the AstraZeneca formula should now go ahead as previously.

Spahn is expected to comment on the approval later on Thursday.

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VACCINE

‘This can be a good summer’: Half of Germans vaccinated at least once against Covid

One in two Germans have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, health authorities said Friday, before warning against complacency as the Delta variant is expected to become the dominant strain.

'This can be a good summer': Half of Germans vaccinated at least once against Covid
Jens Spahn. Photo: DPA/Carsten Koall

Some 50.1 percent of the total German population, or 41.66 million people, have now been vaccinated at least once against the coronavirus, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said on Friday.

At the same time 29.6 percent of the population now has full protection – that’s just under 25 million people.

“This can be a good summer,” said Health Minister Jens Spahn on Friday, before saying that the country needed to remain vigilant due to the spread of the Delta variant.

RKI President Lothar Wieler meanwhile warned that the numbers also showed that millions of people were still completely unprotected or only partially protected.

In order to largely dispense with the pandemic measures, the German government wants to hit 80 percent immunity – either through complete vaccination or an infection plus vaccination. 

The Delta variant, first identified in India, doubled to just over 6 percent of all new infections in Germany during the week ending June 6th in comparison with the previous seven days.

“By the autumn, it will be the dominant strain,” said Wieler.

It was “biologically logical” for the strain to become dominant simply because it was more infectious, he said.

Germany has eased most restrictions, reopening restaurants, shops, pools and museums in recent weeks as new infections dip sharply.

On Friday, it recorded 1,076 new cases, while the number of new cases over a seven day period continued to drop to 10 per 100,000 people.

Wieler said however that it was necessary to keep wearing masks indoors, such as on public transport or at offices.

“We have achieved really good results but the virus is still active and please let us give this virus no chance,” he urged.

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