AstraZeneca said on Tuesday that it will supply the U.S. government with an additional 500,000 doses of its experimental, long-acting antibody-based Covid-19 combination treatment that aims to protect those who aren’t able to be vaccinated.
The $205 million agreement to supply the treatment—called AZD7442—builds on a deal the Anglo-Swedish drug manufacturer struck last year with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense (DoD).
Ireland’s health department recommended that the administration of AstraZeneca’s vaccine be “temporarily deferred” immediately on Sunday morning, citing a report from the Norwegian Medicines Agency that highlighted four instances of “serious blood clotting events” in adults who had received the vaccine.
In a statement, the nation’s deputy chief medical officer said it has not concluded that there is “any link” between the vaccine and the cases, but that the decision to suspend its administration was made out of precaution and pending further information.
Other countries, including Iceland, Denmark and Norway, suspended their administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week on separate concerns over blood clotting, but the World Health Organization and regional authorities have said there is no evidence the vaccines caused the coagulation.
On Saturday, for instance, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health announced that three health workers under the age of 50 were receiving treatment for “severe cases of blood clots or brain haemorrhages” after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine but reiterated that the conditions were not conclusively linked to the vaccine.
Meanwhile, northern Italy’s Piedmont region, which counts some 4 million residents, also suspended its use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday after a teacher who had received the shot died on Saturday, Reuters reported, following two deaths under similar conditions reported in nearby Sicily.
Domestically, the AstraZeneca vaccine is still undergoing phase-three clinical trials and has therefore not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but the New York Times reported Friday that the federal government has purchased roughly 30 million doses that are being packaged in an Ohio facility.
“An analysis of our safety data of more than 10 million records has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country with [our] Covid-19 vaccine,” AstraZeneca said in a statement to CNN Friday.