ROME

Italy’s drug regulator on Monday said it temporarily suspended the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine across the country.

“Further checks are currently ongoing,” the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) said in a statement, adding it was waiting for a final word from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and that it will evaluate all the adverse events that have followed the vaccinations.

“AIFA will swiftly communicate any further information available, including how to complete the vaccination cycle for whoever has already received the first dose (of the vaccine),” the agency added.

Last week, AIFA had already banned a single batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, following adverse reactions to the inoculation. It stressed, however, that at the time there was no proven connection between the inoculation of the vaccine and the adverse reactions.

European countries, including Germany, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway, have suspended the use of AstraZeneca in recent weeks, after reports of people developing blood clots after receiving the jab.

AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine is used to prevent the COVID-19 infection in people aged 18 years and above. It has been designed to prepare the immune system to identify and combat the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 causing COVID-19.

The viral vector technology used for this vaccine has already been successfully tested and employed in the prevention of other diseases in several countries.

Italy is struggling to press ahead with its massive vaccination plan, as some of the vaccine producers have announced delays in their supplies.

But the new Italian government headed by Prime Minister Mario Draghi has recently said it aims to vaccinate at least 80% of its population by the end of September, amid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.

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