Published: Sat, April 03, 2021

United Kingdom records seven fatalities after AstraZeneca jab

United Kingdom records seven fatalities after AstraZeneca jab

Britain's medicines regulator said it has identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events associated with the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine but stressed the benefits "continue to outweigh any risks".

It is still unknown if the clots are a side effect of the vaccine or merely a coincidence but the MHRA stress the benefits continue to outweigh any risk.

The health agency, which reported this risk a week ago, "reconfirms the very rare occurrence of this thrombotic risk" in people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine has already prompted some countries including Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands to restrict its use to older people.

And even if they are, British and European regulators have said they were so rare that the vaccine should continue to be used.

A more detailed look at the MHRA's findings show that of the 30 cases, 22 related to cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, which stops blood draining from the brain properly, and eight were connected with other thrombosis events with low platelets.

"Investigators have not at this time confirmed a causal link with the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine, but investigations are ongoing", the deputy chief medical officer, Michael Kidd, told a televised briefing.

"A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and United Kingdom with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country", the company had said.

The Dutch health ministry said that the country "must err on the side of caution" but that the vaccine was "safe" for use.

There were no reports of similar cases after receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. And he pointed out that "a month's delay in vaccinating 500,000 people between 44 and 54 would be expected to lead to around 85 severe cases [of COVID-19] requiring hospitalization, of which perhaps five would die".

On Thursday, Germany's immunisation commission, the STIKO, recommended that anyone younger than 60 who received an initial vaccination with AstraZeneca be given either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots as their second vaccine doses.

Britain has relied heavily on the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed at the University of Oxford, and the government has insisted that the shot is safe.

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