Australia investigates possible link of blood clot case to AstraZeneca vaccine

Cornelia Mascio
Aprile 4, 2021

In Australia, The Therapeutic Goods Administration is investigating what's thought to be the first Australian vaccine recipient affected by the "extremely rare" blood clotting disorder detected in a few dozen people who received the Anglo-Swedish drug maker's jab. Scientists have said that case counts would inevitably rise among vaccinated people as doctors began looking more closely for the condition.

Several European countries temporarily suspended their use of the vaccine after a small number of people developed blood clots, but most restarted after the EU medicines regulator concluded it was safe and effective.

So far, seven people among the 30 cases have died in the UK.

The MHRA urged people to continue taking the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

Of the 18.1 million people who have had the Oxford vaccine in the United Kingdom, 30 people have developed blood clots, the medicines regulator has said.

The MHRA said there were no reports of blood clots from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine it said, adding that "our thorough review into these reports is ongoing".

But experts have stressed that no link has been proven - and the benefits of getting the vaccine far outweighed any risks, given the dangers posed by Covid.

The Netherlands is again suspending use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine following reports of serious thrombosis-related side effects, the health ministry said on Friday.

The Australian case, first reported on April 2, is now being investigated by the country's Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The TGA is also working closely with worldwide 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.

The World Health Organization has also urged countries to continue using the jab.

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 very straightforward.

The cases include 22 reports of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) and eight other thrombosis events with low platelets.

Concerns have been raised about blood clots after a tiny proportion of cases arose among the tens of millions who have received the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab.

The move came after five new cases were recorded in the Netherlands in women aged 25 to 65 years, one of whom died. Germany had taken a similar decision earlier this week.

In a statement on Friday, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation said, "There is not a higher overall rate of relatively common types of blood clots (.) reported after COVID-19 vaccination".

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