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2021.03.18 11:37

Lithuania may give AstraZeneca vaccines to everyone willing – minister

LRT RADIJAS, LRT.lt2021.03.18 11:37

Once Lithuania resumes vaccination with AstraZeneca shots, people willing to get the jab may be allowed to skip the line, Health Minister Arūnas Dulkys has suggested.

Lithuania has temporarily halted the use of the vaccine by the British-Swedish developer pending conclusions from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) over its safety.

Read more: Lithuania temporarily halts AstraZeneca vaccines

However, the vaccine has suffered “a serious reputation hit”, Dulkys told LRT RADIO on Thursday.

With some people refusing to get vaccinated, AstraZeneca shots could be made available to those outside the priority groups who trust its safety.

“Our current vaccination strategy is based on giving the shots to only priority groups, but we may reconsider it in regards to this [AstraZeneca] vaccine, perhaps allowing everyone willing to get vaccinated,” he said. “But the final decision has yet to be made.”

He also defended his decision on Tuesday night to halt the use of the vaccine, despite previous statements that it was perfectly safe.

“When countries like France, Germany, Spain and Italy stop [the use of AstraZeneca vaccine], I can't imagine the authority an expert in Lithuania must have in order to convince people in doubt to get the shot,” he said.

Read more: Lithuanian president slams decision to suspend AstraZeneca vaccines

His choice, which followed a recommendation from the State Medicines Control Agency, was between “a bad and a worse decision”, the minister added.

The Agency said it recommended temporarily stopping AstraZeneca vaccination after considering three reports about blood clotting events. It noted, however, that there was no evidence they were caused by the vaccine.

Read more: People in Lithuanian town shun AstraZeneca vaccine claiming safety fears

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