Italy: Piemonte suspends AstraZeneca vaccine after death of teacher

Measure taken as precaution after teacher died in Biella day after receiving the vaccine.

Piemonte, the north Italian region around Turin, has ordered the immediate suspension of a batch of the AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine amid a probe into the death of a teacher who received the jab yesterday, reports news agency ANSA.

The move has been taken out of "extreme caution" pending the results of an investigation into any possible link between the vaccine and the death of the teacher, who was born in 1963, said Piemonte regional health councillor Luigi Genesio.

The news comes a few days after Italy suspended a batch of AstraZeneca amid an investigation into the suspicious deaths of two men in Sicily who were recently inoculated.

However AstraZeneca continues to be administered in Italy and the country's medicines agency AIFA has stressed that at present no link has been established between the vaccine and subsequent adverse reactions.

The move by Piemonte comes the same day as the Republic of Ireland ordered the temporary suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine after reports of blood clots in vaccinated people.

Ireland is the latest European country to partially or fully suspend AstraZeneca over blood-clotting concerns.

"The vaccine's benefits continue to outweigh its risks and the vaccine can continue to be administered while investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing," the European Medicines Agency (EMA) stated on 12 March.