Cases of rare blood clots identified after AstraZeneca Covid-19 jabs

Daniel Fowler
April 4, 2021

In France, which has restricted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 55, the family of a 38-year-old woman who died after suffering post-vaccination blood clots in the brain filed a criminal complaint in Toulouse seeking a manslaughter investigation. Scientists have said that case counts would inevitably rise among vaccinated people as doctors began looking more closely for the condition.

Details of the deaths come as several European countries have paused the use of the jab over a potential link to blood clots. In total, some 400,000 people were given the AstraZeneca vaccine during the period the problems were reported.

The British Medicines Regulatory Authority announced Friday that it has registered 30 rare cases of blood clotting in Britain among more than 18 million people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine. "The risk of having this specific type of blood clot is very small", the agency noted.

Amid growing reports of rare blood clots possibly linked to the AstraZeneca shot, the U.K.'s health regulator said the benefits of the shot continue to outweigh the risks.

Britain, where the vaccine was developed with the University of Oxford, has been one of the countries worst-hit by coronavirus with almost 127,000 dead.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said the jab does not increase the overall incidence of blood clots. It has said a causal link between unusual blood clots in people who have had the vaccine is "not proven, but is possible", and that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks of side effects.

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You also don't need to self-quarantine after travel, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. However, the CDC had not made any move to review its guidance that discouraged all non-essential trips.

The TGA is also working closely with global regulators and is participating in meetings with Britain's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the European Medicines Agency to discuss these rare cases over the coming few days.

"This is a very safe vaccine, it's saving a lot of lives and we've seen how these types of stories have damaged vaccination campaigns in other parts of the world".

Adam Finn, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Bristol, said the "extreme rarity" of the blood-clotting events in the context of the millions of jabs administered in the United Kingdom makes the decision facing people very straightforward.

"Receiving the vaccine is by far the safest choice in terms of minimizing individual risk of serious illness or death", he said.

Eight other cases saw people suffer thrombosis and low levels of blood platelets, which help blood clot. The Netherlands on Friday joined Germany in suspending the vaccine's use in people under 60.

The Minister wrote in a letter to Parliament that he took this decision pending a further judgment by the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) of the European Medicines Agency.

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