France, Germany and Italy said Monday they have decided to suspend the use of a coronavirus vaccine developed by Britain's AstraZeneca Plc as a precautionary measure following reports of blood clots among those who received the shots in Norway.
Later in the day, Spain also followed suit, saying it will discontinue usage of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the country for at least two weeks. The announcements by the four countries came after several other European nations including Norway halted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Japan's health ministry is currently examining the drugmaker's application for use of its coronavirus vaccine in the country.
The World Health Organization and the European Union have said they do not yet see any linkage between the AstraZeneca vaccination and the reported health problems.
AstraZeneca also released a statement on Sunday, saying there is no evidence its vaccine could trigger blood clots and no quality issues have been found with any of the batches distributed in Europe or elsewhere in the world.
"The Company is keeping this issue under close review but available evidence does not confirm that the vaccine is the cause," it said. "To overcome the pandemic, it is important that people get vaccinated when invited to do so."
Three people -- all medical workers under age 50 -- were confirmed Friday to have been hospitalized after suffering blood clots or brain bleeding, according to Norway health authorities.