Seven people have died from unusual blood clots after getting the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK, the medicines regulator has confirmed to the BBC news
In total, 30 people out of 18 million vaccinated by 24 March had these clots. It is still not clear if they are just a coincidence or a genuine side effect of the vaccine. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency says the benefits continue to outweigh any risk. The World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency have echoed this conclusion.
A spokeswoman for AstraZeneca said: “Patient safety remains the company’s highest priority.
However, concern has led to other countries including Germany, France, the Netherlands and Canada to restrict the vaccine’s use only to older people. The data released by the MHRA on Friday showed 22 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) which is a type of blood clot in the brain. These were accompanied by low levels of platelets, which help form blood clots, in the body. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) also found other clotting problems alongside low platelet levels in eight people. Now the MHRA has confirmed, in an email to the BBC, that “sadly seven have died”.
Earlier, British regulators said that out of the more than 18 million AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine doses administered in Britain, only around 30 cases of blood clots were reported. The new number of cases is 25 more than what was reported last month.
In March, more than a dozen countries, mostly in Europe, temporarily suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine’s rollout due to concerns about its possible link to the rare blood clots.
“The benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalization and death, outweigh the risks of side effects,” the European Medicines Agency said in a press briefing March 31, echoing what the regulator said in the weeks prior.