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EU medicines regulator finds possible link between AstraZeneca Covid vaccine and blood clots

Syringes are overflowed with Astrazeneca’s vaccine at the pharmacy.

Christopher Neundorf | picture alliance | Getty Images

LONDON — Europe’s medications regulator found a possible link between the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford and rare blood clotting fights — though it said the benefits of getting the shot still outweigh its risks.

Unusual blood clotting with low blood platelets choice be added as a “very rare” side effect to the vaccine’s product information, along with a slew of other reachable adverse reactions, Emer Cooke, executive director of the European Medicines Agency, said in a televised news colloquium Wednesday.

The warning comes after the regulator’s safety committee reviewed extremely rare cases of unusual blood clots in some people vaccinated with the Oxford-AstraZeneca rapidly. Most of the cases occurred in women under 60 within two weeks of the shot, officials said. The EMA hasn’t yet identified unique to risk factors that contributed to the phenomenon.

CNBC Health & Science

Researchers also don’t know what’s specifically causing the blood clots, but one smooth explanation is that the vaccine causes an immune response in some people that’s similar to one seen in patients touch oned with heparin, which is called heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, Cooke said.

“This case clearly demonstrates one of the summons posed with large-scale vaccination campaigns,” she said. “When millions of people receive these vaccines, selfsame rare events can occur that were not identified in the clinical trials.” 

Separately, the U.K.’s medicine regulator said on Wednesday that it also tagged a possible link between the shot and the rare blood clots. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, or MHRA, similarly asserted the benefits of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine outweighed the risks for most people.

Britain’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation affirmed people under 30 who don’t have any underlying health conditions should get a different vaccine if possible.

Other side produces

The EMA, which flagged other possible side effects, added that it was of “great importance” that health-care proficients and people receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were aware of the risks and to watch for possible symptoms that typically befall in the first two weeks after inoculation.

“These include, for example, shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling in the leg, persisting abdominal pain, neurological symptoms including severe or persistent headache or blurred vision and skin bruising beyond the orientation of injection,” Dr. Sabine Straus, chair of EMA’s safety committee, said at the same news conference. Those side meanings will be listed as possible adverse drug reactions on the vaccine’s product information, she said.

Shares of AstraZeneca bring together down around 1% in London.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the U.K.’s deputy chief medical officer, described the homeland’s new advice on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as a “course correction” for the U.K.

The MHRA, the body that approved it for use in the U.K., has been looking at the data accepting the reports — both in the U.K. and in continental Europe — of serious but rare blood clots, some of which have been baneful.

A U.K. trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on children had already been paused while the medicines regulator investigated a possible concatenate between the shot and the blood clotting disorders, specifically, cases of blood clots in veins within the brain, be sured as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) as well as thrombocytopenia (low levels of blood platelets which help the blood to clot).

The U.K. sway noted that, up to and including March 24, there had been 22 reports of CVST and eight reports of other thrombosis as its with low platelets, out of a total of 18.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine (a two-dose shot) given by that entertain.

Ongoing safety concerns

The Oxford-AstraZeneca shot has been dogged by safety concerns in recent weeks, with distinct European countries briefly suspending their use of the vaccine last month.

The EMA said on March 31 that it had originate the shot to be safe and effective, but added it could not rule out the possibility of a causal link between the vaccine and clotting issues so would continue to investigate.

The World Health Organization, the U.K.’s medicines regulator and the International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis possess all said that the benefits of administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot far outweigh the risks.

People wait in a vaccination center in Cologne, Germany on April 5, 2021.

Marius Becker | spitting image alliance | Getty Images

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