[World-News] Canada pauses AstraZeneca jab for under 55s

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The risk of blood clots in younger recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine is still a cause for concern for Canada’s health authority. Follow DW for the latest.

Canadian health officials announced Monday they would stop offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people under the age of 55.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said that the anti-COVID-19 vaccine should not be used in adults under 55 due to the risk of blood clotsamong younger recipients.

NACI recommended the suspension “while the safety signal of vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia (VIPIT) following vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is investigated further.”

The Canadian national broadcaster CBC reported that the AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been widely used in the under-55 age group thus far.

Canada, like several other countries, suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine entirely earlier in March.

NACI said that despite the suspension, Canada is still expected to receive enough vaccine doses to be able to fully vaccinate the population by autumn of this year.

Here’s an overview of the latest major coronavirus developments around the world

Global

A group of global state leaders as well as the WHO and the EU co-signed an op-ed backing plans for an international treaty to better prepare for future pandemics.

The signatories, which included the leaders of Germany, France and the UK among others, called for a plan to ensure greater cooperation and solidarity the next time the world is hit by a devastating pandemic.

Americas

A new study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday showed the BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19 infections two weeks after one dose and 90% effective two weeks after both doses have been administered.

Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, announced on Monday that his country had received a shipment of 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on loan from the US.

Mexico expects to receive 2.7 million doses from the US where the AstraZeneca jab has not yet been approved. The US, which has stockpiled some 7 million doses of the vaccine, also agreed to loan shots to Canada.

Europe

Germany’s Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases (RKI) reported 9,549 new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24 hours on Tuesday. In the same time period, 180 new coronavirus deaths were recorded.

A small explosion Tuesday damaged a church near Rotterdam, Netherlands, which had reopened in defiance of government coronavirus advice and where a journalist was attacked when reporting the story. 

“Nobody was injured in the blast, but the front of the building was damaged,” police said in a Tweet, adding “an investigation has started.”

Asia

Japan’s health minister was prompted to apologize for employees gathering in violation of the government’s COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday. Norihisa Tamura confirmed that 23 ministry employees ate dinner together on March 24 and would investigate the matter, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.

India recorded 56,211 new cases of COVID-19, a slight drop from the country’s record breaking tallies over the last three days, data from the health ministry showed on Tuesday.

Also in India, Hindus sprayed water and threw colored powder in massive Holi celebrations. The celebrations took place Monday despite many Indian states restricting gatherings to curb a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

Africa 

In an attempt to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate-related shocks, the International Monetary Fund’s executive board approved a $312.4 million (€265 million) extended credit facility arrangement for Madagascar.

Oceania

Australia reported eight new COVID-19 locally-spread cases in its populous Queensland state, a day after 2 million people entered a snap three-day lockdown in the state capital Brisbane.

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