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Spain on Wednesday announced it would reserve the AstraZeneca vaccine for those over 60 after an EU regulator said blood clots should be listed as a rare side effect of the jab.

"We will continue to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine, but from the age of 60," Health Minister Caroline Darias told a press conference as the country joined several other nations that have taken similar measures.

The EU medicines regulator EMA encouraged countries to continue using the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying its benefits outweigh the risks.

Many of the blood clot cases have been reported in women under 55, but the EMA said it had not been able to pinpoint those at risk.

Darias said Spain's decision was taken after the EMA announcement earlier Wednesday.

While waiting for the update from the regulator, the Spanish region of Castille and Leon had suspended AstraZeneca vaccines as a precaution.

Spain is among the European countries hardest-hit by the pandemic with more than 3.2 million infections and over 76,000 deaths.

The country has so far vaccinated more than 6.2 percent of its 47 million people with two doses and has administered over 9.3 million doses in total.

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