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Italy stops the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under 60

A nurse prepares a dose of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine (COVID-19) in Fazano, Italy, April 13, 2021. REUTERS / Alessandro Garofalo / File Photo

The Italian government said Friday it was restricting the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people over the age of 60 after a teenager who received the shot died of a rare form of blood clotting.

Camila Kanepa died on Thursday at the age of 18 after being vaccinated on May 25, sparking media and political protests over the Anglo-Swedish company’s shot, used for adults of all ages, despite earlier medical concerns.

“AstraZeneca will only be used for people over 60,” COVID Special Commissioner Francesco Figliuolo told reporters.

People under the age of 60 who have received the first dose of AstraZeneca should receive a different vaccine for the second dose, government chief medical adviser Franco Locatelli told a news conference.

“The risk-benefit assessment has changed,” Locatelli said, without mentioning the death of Kanepa, who suffers from low platelet counts, cerebral hemorrhage and abdominal clots.

AstraZeneca was not immediately available for comment.

Like many European countries, Italy briefly stopped vaccinating AstraZeneca in March due to fears of rare blood clotting problems, mainly in young people. Read more

He resumed them the following month, recommending that the product be “preferably” used by people over the age of 60, after the European regulator said the benefits of the device outweighed the risks.

Several other European countries have also stopped giving AstraZeneca COVID-19 to people under a certain age, usually ranging from 50 to 65. read more

However, as Mario Draghi’s government sought to step up its vaccination efforts, some Italian regions launched “open days” where the AstraZeneca shot was fired at people aged 18 and over.

These include young women, who are considered to be the group most at risk for extremely rare blood clotting disorders.

The inoculation events, often held in the evenings and on weekends, were partly aimed at preventing the loss of AstraZeneca doses against the background of widespread reports of elderly people refusing the product and canceling their vaccination appointments.

About 46% of people in Italy have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 23% have been fully vaccinated, figures generally in line with most other EU countries.

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