A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca's Coronavirus vaccine at the vaccination centre at Messe Dresden convention centre during a vaccination campaign. Photo: Robert Michael/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa
A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca's Coronavirus vaccine at the vaccination centre at Messe Dresden convention centre during a vaccination campaign. Photo: Robert Michael/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

The Swedish government is donating 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to poorer countries through the COVAX initiative, Development Minister Per Olsson Fridh said on Monday.

Fridh said that the vaccine from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company is no longer needed in Sweden, reported the TT news agency.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been linked to blood clots in very rare cases, which is why Sweden administers it only to people older than 65.

However, as the country is still expecting a large delivery of the vaccine that won’t be used, said Fridh, “it’s important we don’t sit on them and keep the doses when the whole world needs vaccines.”

The World Health Organization-backed COVAX programme is a global initiative aimed at providing equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines that many poorer countries rely on.

Denmark, which has completely stopped administering AstraZeneca jabs, has not yet decided what to do with its excess supply.

The Danish health minister is trying to trade the AstraZeneca doses for vaccines from another manufacturer. In April, the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein was “lent” 55,000 doses.

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