THE start of COVID-19 inoculations for all teachers in the Valencia region ground to a halt within hours yesterday(March 15) of Spain suspending the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

There are fears, not supported by medical experts, that the UK-created product can produce fatal blood clots in some people that have taken the vaccine.

Spain joined France, Italy, and Germany in a 15 day suspension in using the AstraZeneca product while they await further reports on possible side effects.

Valencia’s Health Minister, Ana Barcelo, said: “This is a temporary pause which is down to being prudent and there have been no reports of adverse reactions in people who have had the AstraZeneca vaccine in the region.”

Over 116,000 teaching staff were scheduled to be inoculated over the next fortnight with around 80,000 doses planned this week alone.

The Valencia region planned 159,000 inoculations this week using AstraZeneca, which began to be distributed across Spain on February 9.

Besides teachers, the AstraZeneca vaccines were going to be rolled out for home help staff and social services primary care workers.

Other vaccines are coming into the region like the Pfizer product but in much smaller amounts.

300,000 people were pencilled in to get their second vaccine booster jab by the end of March, ahead of the beginning of a mass vaccination programme in April.

A significant proportion of people aged over 80 years are yet to get their first dose but it would not have been AstraZeneca anyway as its use in Spain is being restricted to people aged up to 55.

The current priority is to offer second injections to residents aged over 90 who received their first inoculation in March

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