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European countries express interest in purchasing Denmark's unwanted AstraZeneca vaccines

ANI | Updated: Apr 16, 2021 11:41 IST

Copenhagen [Denmark], April 16 (ANI): Many European countries on Thursday expressed their interest in purchasing unwanted AstraZeneca vaccines from Denmark.
Hans Kluge, the Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Europe said Denmark was considering sharing unused doses with poorer countries, reported euronews.
"I understand that the ministry of foreign affairs of Denmark is ready to, or looking already into options, for sharing AstraZeneca vaccines with poorer countries," Kluge told a virtual press conference.
Kluge expressed his "appreciation" that Denmark was following the WHO's recommendations on the matter and sympathised with the decision to suspend AstraZeneca's vaccine.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Denmark became the first European country to abandon AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine due to a link with extremely rare cases of blood clots.
A day later, Norway's Public Health Institute also recommended against further use of the jab.
However, the WHO has reiterated that the jab is "safe and effective" against COVID-19 and that the risk of thrombosis and blood clots is "much higher" if you contract the virus, reported euronews.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has maintained that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks of side effects, explaining that COVID-19 is a "very serious disease".

On the other hand, other EU member states have limited AstraZeneca doses to certain age groups, reported euronews.
Danish authorities have said "it is important to emphasise that it (AstraZeneca) is still an approved vaccine" and did not rule out using it in the future amid a rise in infection rates in the country.
On Wednesday, the Czech Health Minister Jan Hamacek tweeted that his country would be interested in Denmark's remaining doses, reported euronews.
"We are looking for vaccines all over the world, we are willing to buy AstraZeneca from Denmark," Hamacek said.
Meanwhile, Lithuania's Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said Vilnius would also be willing to buy vaccines, and neighbouring Latvia has also expressed interest.
"We will contact Denmark to find out how to apply for these vaccines," tweeted Latvia's Health Minister Daniels Pavluts.
However, it is not yet clear whether such deals are possible and permitted under EU procurement rules.
Several Danish political parties have also suggested that the surplus doses be distributed to Danes who are willing to receive AstraZeneca despite the health authorities' suspension, reported euronews.
The European Commission currently has a portfolio of 2.6 billion doses from several companies, including AstraZeneca, and is negotiating further contracts. (ANI)