Portugal suspends AstraZeneca jabs

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Portugal has followed the lead of other EU countries and stopped rolling out AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine after reports of "serious but rare" side effects, health chief Graca Freitas said on Monday.

The decision was taken "as a precaution" pending advice from the EU's regulator, said Freitas, head of Portugal's the DGS.

The European Medicines Agency will hold a special meeting on Thursday to decide whether measures are needed over concerns that some people developed after being inoculated.

The World Health Organization said countries should continue to use the jab, adding that it would convene its on Tuesday to review the safety of the vaccine.

Portugal has already administered some 400,000 doses of the vaccine and has 200,000 in stock, Henrique Gouveia Melo, head of the vaccination programme, told a news conference.

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