AstraZeneca’s (AZN) – Get Report COVID-19 vaccine was suspended in more countries on Tuesday, with Sweden being the latest nation to pause its use as European regulators continue to review safety data following reports of dangerous blood clots in some recipients.
The European Medicines Agency plans to meet Thursday to review experts’ findings on the vaccine and decide whether action needs to be taken. The agency so far has said that the benefits of receiving the shot outweigh the risk of side effects.
The Swedish Public Health Agency said Tuesday that it would suspend use of the AstraZeneca vaccine pending the results of the EMA meeting. Germany, France, Italy and Spain were among countries that suspended use of the vaccine on Monday.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine is one of three authorized for use on the European continent. But escalating concern about the shot has created another setback for the European Union’s vaccination drive, which has been plagued by shortages and other hurdles and is lagging far behind the efforts in Britain and the U.S.
AstraZeneca has said there is no evidence its vaccine carries an increased risk of blood clots. There have been 37 reports of blood clots among the more than 17 million people who have received the vaccine across the EU and Britain, the company said.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing the vaccine, with an eye to granting emergency authorization use approval by mid-April, according to Reuters.
Separately, Jeffries upgraded its rating on AstraZeneca to buy from hold and raised its one-year price target to $61.05 per U.S.-listed share amid expectations of an “impressive” revenue and profit trajectory relative to its European pharma peers – despite upcoming Phase III data for its coronavirus vaccine that “could look relatively underwhelming.”
At last check, AstraZeneca’s American depositary receipts were up 2.03% at $49.76 in premarket trading.