The Dutch government has suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine for two weeks following possible side effects reported in Denmark and Norway.

The suspension, which will last until at least 29 March, was a precautionary measure.

The Dutch Health Ministry said: “Based on new information, the Dutch Medicines Authority has advised, as a precautionary measure and pending further investigation, to suspend the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

Earlier, the Republic of Ireland took a similar decision over reports of blood clotting in adults in Norway.

Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said, in a statement, said: “The crucial question is whether these are complaints after or because of the vaccination. There should be no doubt about the vaccines.

“We can’t allow any doubts about the vaccine. We have to make sure everything is right, so it is wise to pause for now.”

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca said that there is no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country.

Among those vaccinated, there had been 15 events of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and 22 events of pulmonary embolism reported, said the drug company.

AstraZeneca chief medical officer Dr Ann Taylor said: “Around 17 million people in the EU and UK have now received our vaccine, and the number of cases of blood clots reported in this group is lower than the hundreds of cases that would be expected among the general population.

“The nature of the pandemic has led to increased attention in individual cases and we are going beyond the standard practices for safety monitoring of licensed medicines in reporting vaccine events, to ensure public safety.”