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A government-appointed commission in Norway said on Monday that the country should exclude the COVID-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson from its inoculation program due to a risk of rare but harmful side-effects.

The commission added that those willing to volunteer to take either vaccine should be allowed to.

On March 11, Norway suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout due to a small number of younger inoculated people suffering a combination of blood clots, bleeding and a low platelet count.

On April 15, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health urged the AstraZeneca shot be dropped entirely, but the government sought its commission’s advice on both the AstraZeneca shot and the Johnson & Johnson injection. The Johnson & Johnson shot has not been used in Norway even though it was approved by the European Medicines Agency.

According to the commisssion, there have been eight Norwegian cases of severe clotting linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine and four of those recipients died.

The government is expected to use the information as a basis for its decision on whether to use the vaccines. When that decision will be made is not yet known.

Denmark has also excluded the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson shots from its program.

Author: Jacob Hall