Another 25 cases of blood clots reported in UK after AstraZeneca vaccine – but regulators say it's still safe

A HEALTH regulator has now received a total of 30 reports of rare blood clots from people who have had the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab in the UK.

None of those given the Pfizer vaccine reported a clot, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) revealed.

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News of patients suffering severe and very rare clotting after receiving the jab was reported as countries around Europe hold back on recommending the dose for younger age groups.

Initially, on March 18, the UK regulator said there had been five cases of the brain clot among 11m administered shots.

But tonight, it said 25 more clotting cases have been reported – 22 of which were the rare ailment.

It comes as:

  • Brits have been warned we could all face a fourth lockdown if huge groups meet over Easter
  • Millions of Brits told book your Covid vaccine now without delay, by NHS chief
  • Brits will likely have to take Covid tests or show immunity to go to the pub, says Boris
  • EU chief warns Britain will get ‘ZERO’ AstraZeneca jabs until supplies are met saying ‘there’s nothing to negotiate'
  • Easter Covid lockdown rules: What you can and can’t do over the UK bank holiday

Just a fortnight ago, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) concluded the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe.

But on Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that while she'll take the British vaccine, it's being partially suspended for younger people.

In a statement released before her announcement, AstraZeneca said it is analysing its own records to understand whether "the rare blood clots reported occur more commonly than would be expected naturally in a population of millions of people".

People across the world have had the AstraZeneca vaccine without any complications.

Regulators have stressed that the benefits of the jab far outweigh any potential risks.



The condition, called CVST, occurred with low blood platelets and is an extremely rare combination of events.

It’s so rare, UK regulators at the MHRA said they did not know how often it happens in the general population. While investigations continue, people have been urged to accept their vaccine offer when it comes.

Similar reports of rare blood clots have caused France, Sweden, Finland and Canada, as well as Germany, to recommend that younger people, who are much more likely to be affected by the condition, avoid the shot.

The jab is suspended altogether in Norway, where of the 120,000 recipients, six suffered clots and four died. It's also not in use in Denmark.

In Germany, 31 cases have been reported after 2.7m vaccinations, including 29 women aged between 20 and 63, and two men aged 36 and 57.

Scientists say they know how jab could potentially cause blood clots

Scientists believe they have uncovered why people who have recently had the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine have suffered blood clots

A handful of the millions of people who have received the vaccine in Europe have experienced the extremely rare complication.

While it is still uncertain whether this was directly caused by the vaccine, scientists in Europe say they have an explanation.

Two studies, in Germany and Norway, claim the shot may cause the body to activate its own platelets – blood cells which form clots to stop bleeding.

This causes the blood to thicken, leading to potentially deadly clots.

Noweigan professor Pål Andre Holme claimed this was the “most likely” cause.

'WEAK EVIDENCE'

But independent scientists said the theory is based on the "weakest evidence", and gave no further answers.

Millions of people across the world have had the AstraZeneca vaccine – developed by Oxford University – without any complications.

Regulators have stressed that the benefits of the jab, to prevent Covid deaths, far outweigh any potential risks.

European regulators say there is no overall increased risk of blood clots in people who get the shot, or that from Pfizer.

But it is unclear whether a very small number of brain blood clots – including five in the UK, one of whom died – were the result of the jab.

The condition, called CVST, occurred with low blood platelets and is an extremely rare combination of events.

It’s so rare, UK regulators at the MHRA said they did not know how often it happens in the general population.

ACCEPT JAB

While investigations continue, people have been urged to accept their vaccine offer when it comes.

If anyone experiences headaches or severe bruising after their jab, they should seek medical help immediately, experts have warned.

The German study, led by the University of Greifswald, looked at nine patients in Germany and Austria who had some form of blood clotting after one AZ shot, seven of whom had a blood clot.

They believe the phenomenon is similar to a rare disorder that occurs with a blood thinning drug called heparin.

Heparin can trigger the immune system to create antibodies that fire up the platelets.

This is called “heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT)”, and can also be caused by other drugs, leading the scientists to believe it could be the case for the AZ jab, too.

Researchers said four people studied had these antibodies in the blood.

And 20 individuals who received the vaccine but did not develop clots did not have these antibodies.

'INSECURE CONCLUSION'

Adam Finn, professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol, said the study had “several limitations” that make its findings less convincing.

For example, it was not investigated whether the patients had previously had Covid – a risk factor for blood clotting in itself.

He said: “The authors’ conclusion that the relationship with vaccination is causative seems insecure at this point and further information on incidence and mechanism in this and other populations is therefore urgently needed to resolve this question."

Nine of them have died.

In the UK, the MHRA received 22 reports of CVST up to and including March 24, as well as eight further 'thrombosis events'.

That's out of 18.1m doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine – meaning around one person in every 600,000 recipients fell ill.

However, cases are rising, with 17 more reports made this week when compared to the previous week.

Officials currently say there's not enough evidence to slow the jabs roll-out.

Johannes Oldenburg, a professor of medicine at Bonn university in Germany, told the Financial Times: “If I had a choice between immediate vaccination with AstraZeneca or waiting four weeks for Moderna, then I would choose the AstraZeneca vaccine, because the four weeks of protection far outweighs this risk."

Dr June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, said: "The benefits of Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca in preventing Covid-19 infection and its complications continue to outweigh any risks and the public should continue to get their vaccine when invited to do so."

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