Covid-19: Italy bans AstraZeneca batch amid probe into two deaths

Italy's nationwide ban of a batch of AstraZeneca comes as several European nations suspend part or all of their roll-out of the covid-19 vaccine over blood-clotting fears.

The Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) has issued a nationwide ban on a batch of the AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine due to “serious adverse events” after inoculation.

The agency stated that the ban refers to batch ABV2856, adding that it may consider additional measures, if required, taken in coordination with the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

It is being reported that the ban follows the deaths of two men in Sicily who had recently been inoculated with the AstraZeneca batch in question.

A 43-year-old navy officer died of a suspected heart attack the day after receiving the vaccine, while a 50-year-old policeman died about 12 days after his jab, after falling ill within 24 hours of being inoculated, reports Reuters.

In a statement AIFA said the ban has been taken as a "precaution," stressing that at present no link had been established between the vaccine and subsequent adverse reactions.

An investigation is currently underway into the batch and its related documentation, with samples set to be analysed by Italy’s Superior Health Institute.

The move comes as a growing number of European countries – including Denmark, Norway, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg – have suspended all or part of their AstraZeneca vaccine roll-out as a precautionary measure while they investigate concerns relating to blood clots.