Italy seizes batch of 400,000 AstraZeneca jabs over death of musician hours after getting vaccine

A BATCH of 400,000 AstraZeneca vaccines have been seized by the Italian authorities after a musician died hours after taking the jab.

Sandro Tognatti, 57, died in circumstances that have yet to be determined but his death has prompted the Italian government to suspend use of the jab.

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Italy has joined France, Germany and several other nations in suspending use of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine due to blood clot fears.

Boris Johnson, UK scientists and regulators say the jab is safe and there is currently no proof it was the cause of fatal blood clots in people who had recently received it.

Tognatti had his shot on Saturday afternoon but developed a high temperature during the night and fell ill again on Sunday morning.

An ambulance was called, but he died shortly afterwards, his wife told Italian newspapers.

Prosecutors in the city of Biella have begun a probe into his death, La Republica reports.

But they are currently waiting on the results of a post-mortem examination to determine if there is any link between the vaccine and Tognatti's death.

Italy's decision to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine was made after a discussion between Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Health Minister Roberto Speranza.

"Speranza held talks with the health ministers of Germany, France and Spain during the day," the health ministry added.

The batch of vaccines were from which Tognatti received his shot have been seized until their safety can been confirmed, prosecutors in the Piedmont region have said.

Prosecutor Teresa Angela Camelio said the vaccines was being seized “until we are completely sure that” Tognatti’s “death cannot be attributed to the above-mentioned inoculation”.

“It is therefore important to ensure that continued administration of the drug throughout the country does not lead to further consequences,” she said.

It comes after magistrates in Sicily ordered the seizure of a separate batch of AstraZeneca vaccine last week following the sudden deaths of two men who had recently been inoculated.

The Italian government has said there was no evidence of a connection between the deaths and the jabs.

Its temporary halt of the AstraZeneca jab comes in the wake of 27,000 cases and 380 deaths recorded on on Friday as hospitals struggle to cope with rising numbers.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on March 10 it would be investigating a spate of blood clotting cases in Europe.

But it later urged countries to continue vaccinating because the benefits of being protected against Covid outweigh any potential risk from the vaccine.

The EU has given first doses to just ten per cent of its population so far compared to 33 per cent in the UK.

And last week, the programme suffered yet another serious setback after another 55 million doses have been delayed.

Italy and much of Central Europe have seen a steep rise in infections over the past fortnight.

In Germany 12,800 new Covid infections were reported on Friday, a rise of over 3000 from the previous week.

The country’s infectious disease agency has acknowledged that the country was now in the grip of a third wave of Covid-19.

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