• A 57-year-old man died hours after receiving COVID-19 vaccine
  • Some countries in the EU suspended the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine
  • The drugmaker said it received 37 reports of blood clots among COVID-19 vaccine recipients

A man in Italy died hours after he received a shot of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Similar reports have prompted major European countries to suspend its use. 

Authorities in the northern Italian region of Piedmont on Monday suspended the use of over 393,000 shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the batch ABV5811 after 57-year-old Sandro Tognatti fell ill and died hours after getting a jab. 

Tognatti, a music teacher, received his COVID-19 vaccine shot Saturday afternoon and developed a high temperature during the night, Reuters reported. He felt ill Sunday morning, prompting his wife to call an ambulance. Tognatti died shortly after. 

His death came a week after officials in Sicily suspended the use of a separate batch of AstraZeneca vaccines following the sudden deaths of two men who had received their shots.

The Italian government said they found no evidence that connected Tognatti’s death to his recent jab. They also allowed health officials to continue administering the vaccine. 

However, a growing number of European countries — including Germany, France, Italy, Iceland and Denmark — suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-9 vaccine following seven cases of dangerous blood clots in recipients, some fatal. 

“It is therefore important to ensure that continued administration of the drug throughout the country does not lead to further consequences (harmful or fatal) ... until we are completely sure that (Tognatti’s) death cannot be attributed to the above-mentioned inoculation,” prosecutor Teresa Angela Camelio said in a statement. 

Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, said the decision to suspend the vaccine was on the advice of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, the country’s vaccine regulator. 

“Today’s decision is a purely precautionary measure,” Spahn said

The drugmaker said they received 37 reports of blood clots out of the 17 million people inoculated across the EU and Britain. However, they said they have not found evidence showing that the vaccine increases the risk of clots

The World Health Organization and the EU’s European Medicines Agency have also said that data does not suggest that the vaccine would cause clots. 

“Many thousands of people develop blood clots annually in the EU for different reasons,” the European Medicines Agency said. 

The EU’s drug regulatory agency is expected to meet on Thursday to review experts’ findings on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and decide whether action is necessary. 

An AstraZeneca vaccine dose being prepared: Venezuela said it will not authorize rollout of the vaccine 'due to complications' An AstraZeneca vaccine dose being prepared: Venezuela said it will not authorize rollout of the vaccine 'due to complications' Photo: AFP / Orlando SIERRA