The (small) risk of serious side effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine is close to the (small) risk of death from corona in young women.

That said Bart-Jan Kullberg, chairman of the Health Council, Thursday evening in



He therefore did not find it a difficult decision to stop the vaccine, no matter how small the risk in absolute terms.

From now on, only people over 60 will be vaccinated with (among other things) the AstraZeneca vaccine, the cabinet decided on Thursday.

For people over 60, the risks of a corona infection are much greater than the risks of the injection.

What's 'wrong' with AstraZeneca?

  • First of all: the vaccine protects well against the corona virus.

  • There is only a very small chance of a serious side effect: thrombosis in combination with a low platelet count.

    That can be life threatening.

  • The EMA estimates that this side effect occurs in about one in 100,000 vaccinees.

    Suppose the entire city of Delft were to receive the Astra injection, so one resident would become that ill.

Astra shot relatively high risk for young woman

"You have to look at those risks in the group in question. Of course, vaccination is extremely important and the risks of corona are very high, but that is especially the case for the elderly. We are now talking about the younger group, and in particular younger women. , where there appears to be a relatively high risk of this operation. "

'High' is relative, Kullberg emphasizes.

“A chance of one in a few hundred thousand is of course very small. But young women also have a very small chance of dying from corona, also on the order of one in a half million, or one in a million. balance suddenly very different. Then it is not desirable to give this vaccine to those people. "

See also: Dutch people under the age of sixty will definitely no longer receive AstraZeneca vaccine

EMA sounded more positive on Wednesday

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), which also advises, sounded significantly more positive on Wednesday.

The agency acknowledged that the combination of thrombosis and platelet deficiency is a serious side effect, but found that the drawbacks do not outweigh all the benefits.

Kullberg says about this: "The EMA does not give advice to whom you should give which vaccine. The EMA looks at whether that vaccine is still permissible to use at all. And they have, of course, rightly said: 'yes, that's it'. it has major advantages, despite these very minor disadvantages and side effects. The EMA does not advise whether and where it should be used. The implementing parties do that: the countries, with advice from the Health Council in the Netherlands. "

See also: EMA: 'Very rare' side effect with AstraZeneca, vaccine benefits are greater

'We are not a collection of scientists in an office'

Last weekend there was criticism from Dutch thrombosis experts, who complained that they had not been involved in the cabinet decision to take another puncture break to further investigate the AstraZeneca side effects.

Yet it is not the case that they are not involved at all in Dutch decision-making, Kullberg emphasizes.

"The Health Council is not a collection of scientists in an office. They are people from the field: experts from the UMCs and universities. And for advice like this, they are internist infectiologists, doctors in geriatric medicine, thrombosis experts, medication safety experts, supplemented with, for example, an ethicist, a virologist. So they are practitioners who also make their scientific contribution to such advice.

See also: Ask your questions about the decision to partially discontinue the AstraZeneca vaccine here