AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine plausibly linked to rare brain clots, European regulators say

Marco Green
Апреля 8, 2021

Back in February, it said there was no data to assess interchangeability of AstraZeneca's vaccine and therefore advised that those who had already received a first dose should not get a different shot when vaccinated for the second time.

This has led prompted a number of countries to suspend the rollout of AstraZeneca vaccines in recent weeks. Most restarted with some age restrictions after the EMA said countries should continue to use the vaccine.

However, on Wednesday issued a reccommendation that those under 30 should no longer receive the AstraZeneca vaccine but added if people had one shot of it they should not switch vaccines.

Finland, which resumed using the AstraZeneca vaccine from March 29, but will only give it to people aged 65 and over, said it would wait for the EMA's conclusions before making a recommendation.

While some experts suggest that different vaccine combinations could work together to enforce the body's immune response to the virus, there is now no evidence it will be as effective. Research into this is now ongoing.

Under-30s in the United Kingdom are to be offered an alternative Covid vaccine to the AstraZeneca jab due to the evidence linking it to rare blood clots. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said Wednesday that blood clots were a "very rare" risk, encouraging countries to continue its use.

The agency added it was reminding healthcare professionals and people receiving the vaccine to remain aware of the possibility of very rare cases of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets occurring within two weeks of vaccination.

The World Health Organization said the link between the vaccine and blood clots was "plausible" but not confirmed, adding that the clotting incidents were "very rare" among almost 200 million people who have received the jab worldwide.

Cases occurred in 51 women and 28 men aged between 18 and 79 years. "Specific risk factors such as age, gender or medical history have not been able to be confirmed, as the rare events are seen in all ages", she told a news conference. This means that, for the moment, the EMA's guidance on the vaccine remains unchanged.

The UK reported a further 45 deaths from Covid-19 and another 2,763 confirmed cases on Wednesday.

"The balance of benefits and risks is very favorable for older people but it is more finely balanced for younger people", she said.

The MHRA said there was a "strong possibility" that the AstraZeneca vaccine is driving the risky clotting although more work was needed to establish "beyond all doubt" that the vaccine causes clotting.

"PRAC feels that the overall benefits outweigh the risks", she concluded.

Asked whether countries should consider prioritising other available vaccines for women under the age of 60, Straus said that this was up to national governments.

June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, said the side-effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine were "extremely rare" - and more work was going to identify if the vaccine was definitely causing the clots.

"We have tried to provide the information we have to the best of our knowledge". The country's health officials said Wednesday that they would also pause a plan to vaccinate teachers that was to begin on Thursday, while awaiting the results of the EMA's review.

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