Germany’s Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) recommended Tuesday that the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be administered to people older than 60, according to the German Press Agency (DPA).
It said that it had made the recommendation “on the basis of presently available data on the occurrence of rare but very serious thrombosis-related side effects.”
These side effects occurred mostly in people under 60 years of age around 4 to 16 days after being vaccinated.
In reaction to STIKO’s decision, Chancellor Angela Merkel held a crisis meeting in the evening with the prime ministers of Germany’s 16 states over the continued use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The commission said that it would announce guidelines on what to do for adults under 60 who had received their first AstraZeneca shot and were scheduled to get a second one by the end of April.
Authorities in several German states had temporarily suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on people under the age of 60.
Use of the vaccine was briefly stopped in several European countries earlier this month due to fears over blood clots.
After a review by medical experts at the Brussels-based European Medicines Agency, most European Union countries, including Germany, resumed AstraZeneca vaccinations on March 19.
Germany is still lagging behind in its vaccination program compared to other Western countries, notably the US and UK, as slightly more than 13 million people in the country had received at least one dose of vaccine while nearly 4 million had received both shots.