Norway should exclude the COVID-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson from its immunization program, due to a small risk of rare but serious side effects, a panel of health experts commissioned by the government said on Monday. However, the panel said those shots should be available for people on a voluntary basis. The government said it will use the recommendations, alongside advice from Norway’s Institute of Public Health, which has also called for both shots to be dropped from the program, as a basis for its final decision on whether to use the vaccines. Separately, the European Union said it has not made any new orders for AstraZeneca vaccines beyond June when the contract ends. “We have not renewed the order for after June. We’ll see what happens,” Thierry Bretón, the European Internal Market Commissioner, told French radio France Inter. The EU has instead thrown its support behind the vaccine jointly developed by Germany’s BioNTech and its U.S. partner Pfizer [s:uk: 0Q1N] by agreeing a contract extension for a potential 1.8 billion doses through 2023.
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