Slovakia halts use of AstraZeneca vaccine as a woman dies

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Slovakia's Health Ministry announced on Tuesday it was suspending the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine for people getting their first doses, after experts reviewed the death of a recipient, Reuters reported. The state drug regulator, SUKL, said last week that the death of a 47-year-old woman was likely to be connected to the vaccine because of a predisposition that she had.

"The Health Ministry is considering various options at the moment, how to proceed with this issue," spokeswoman Zuzana Eliasova said.  She said further steps would be announced later in the week.

Slovakia, a country of 5.5 million people, has given 1.26 million people a first dose, and just under 600,000 people both doses.

The country currently uses vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna as well as AstraZeneca. It has also been considering administering the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine, which has not been cleared by the EMA.

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