German health officials have agreed to restrict the use of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine in people under 60, amid fresh concern over unusual blood clots reported in a tiny number of those who received the shots.
Health Minister Jens Spahn and state officials agreed unanimously to only give the vaccine to people aged 60 or older, unless they belong to a high-risk category for serious illness from COVID-19 and have agreed with their doctor to take the vaccine despite the small risk of a serious side-effect.
Several German regions — including the capital Berlin and the country's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia — had already suspended use of the shots in younger people earlier Tuesday.
Berlin's top health official Dilek Kalaycı says the decision was taken as a precaution after the country's medical regulator announced 31 cases of rare blood clots in people who had recently received the vaccine. Nine of the people died.
Some 2.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered in Germany so far.