News

Family of solicitor, 59, who died from blood clot urge people to get AstraZeneca jab

The sister of a married lawyer who died from a blood clot after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine today joined the legion of politicians and health experts encouraging people to continue taking up the jab and said: ‘My brother was just extraordinarily unlucky’.

Neil Astles, 59, who lived in a £275,000 detached house in Newton-le-Willows on Merseyside, became the UK’s first named victim after passing away last weekend following 10 days of severe headaches and a steady loss of vision.

Mr Astles, who married his wife Carole in 1993 and worked as a council solicitor in nearby Warrington, died on Easter Sunday.

His sister Dr Alison Astles, a pharmacist at the University of Huddersfield, said her brother was a keen runner, was ‘fit and healthy’ and had no history of blood clots. 

But he developed a headache about a week after his vaccination March 17.  When his headaches and eyesight worsened, he was rushed to A&E at the Royal Liverpool Hospital by his brother, before being admitted to intensive care, where he died more than a fortnight later.

Dr Astles told the Daily Telegraph: ‘Despite what has happened to our family, we strongly believe that everyone should go for their first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Emotionally, we are completely and utterly furious. We are suffering. But there’s nothing in our minds to be really furious about. My brother was just extraordinarily unlucky.’ 

Yesterday Britain’s medical regulator the MHRA announced the vaccine created by Oxford University and produced by AstraZeneca would not be used for those under 30 following extremely rare cases of clotting. Boris Johnson also declared the jab was safe and will save lives.

According to the MHRA the risks because the chances of suffering blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca jab was 0.000095 per cent. The BMJ said the risk is the same as being killed by a plane falling from the sky and crashing on your house.

Dr Alison Astles agreed and said: ‘If we all have the vaccine, a few of us might have a blood clot but the evidence is that fewer people will die.’ 

But there are concerns public confidence will have been damaged by the change in policy, made worse by chaos in Europe where EU health ministers have failed to agree joint guidelines for who should be given AstraZeneca jabs as many nations reserved the use of the vaccine to the over-55s or over-60s while Germany has placed restrictions in all age groups. 

The curbs came despite the head of the European Medicines Agency declaring there is ‘no evidence’ to support restricting the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine. 

As the public was urged to retain confidence in the AstraZeneca jab:

  • Matt Hancock says Britain will hit its target to vaccinate all adults by the end of July – and says there is enough Pfizer and Moderna vaccine for the under-30s;
  • EU nations are limiting use of the AZ despite the head of the European Medicines Agency declaring there is ‘no evidence’ to support it;
  • Scientists said the UK was on track to achieve herd immunity at 74 per cent protection by Monday;
  • A major study found that infections in England have more than halved in the past month and the return of schools had little effect on the outbreak;
  • Infections fell by a third on last week to 2,763 daily cases recorded yesterday, while there were 45 deaths.

Neil Astles, 59, from Warrington, became the UK's first named victim after passing away on Easter Sunday following 10 days of headaches and loss of vision

Neil Astles, 59, from Warrington, became the UK’s first named victim after passing away on Easter Sunday following 10 days of headaches and loss of vision

A woman is given a coronavirus vaccine at Cardiff and Vale Therapy Centre

A woman is given a coronavirus vaccine at Cardiff and Vale Therapy Centre

A woman is given a coronavirus vaccine at Cardiff and Vale Therapy Centre 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE RARE BLOOD CLOTS LINKED TO ASTRAZENECA’S VACCINE? 

MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine said anyone who has one or more of the below symptoms for longer than four days after vaccination should seek urgent medical advice.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Swollen leg
  • Persistent stomach pain
  • Severe headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Skin bruising beyond the site of injection  

Mr Astles, who ran regularly, was fit and healthy with no history of blood clotting, according to Dr Astles.

Dr Astles, the subject lead for pharmacy at the University of Huddersfield, said: ‘He had a headache which didn’t go away and he felt a bit sick.

‘But he carried on doing his work, went to the shops, driving around. And then on Friday night, his symptoms had become a great deal worse. And my other brother took him to A&E.

‘At three o’clock the next morning, they transferred him over to the Royal Liverpool hospital to ICU.

‘There was a strong suspicion right from the very beginning that it was the Astra vaccine because of his very low platelet levels.

‘So he had a clot and a subsequent bleed on his brain, which was compressing his brainstem.

‘He was probably brain dead on Saturday afternoon, but he was declared dead at 22 minutes past five on Sunday evening, when they turned off his ventilator.

‘We were all around him at that point. The clot just compressed his brainstem such that his breathing wouldn’t function.’

Dr Astles urged people to seek medical attention if they experience lasting headaches or sickness after taking the jab

While the coroner has not yet reported the official cause of death, Mr Astles’s diagnosis was ‘cerebral sinus thrombosis and subarachnoid haemorrhage’ with ‘low platelets and extraordinarily high d-dimer’ – a protein present in the blood when a clot has formed. 

Ministers, MPs, watchdogs and health officials yesterday blitzed the public with messages to try to shore up support for the AstraZeneca vaccine amid fears the new advice could dent confidence. 

Boris Johnson said: ‘As the regulators have said, this vaccine is safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives – and the vast majority of people should continue to take it when offered. 

‘We will follow today’s updated advice, which should allow people of all ages to continue to have full confidence in vaccines, helping us save lives and cautiously return towards normality.’  

Britain will pass threshold for Covid herd immunity on MONDAY when more than 74 per cent of people will have protection against the virus, scientists say 

Britain is set to pass the threshold for herd immunity on Monday, scientists say.

Modelling by University College London (UCL) suggests that 73.4 per cent of the population will have protection against Covid by April 12.

The figures outdo pessimistic estimations by Imperial College this week – which suggested that just 34 per cent would have the vital antibody protection by the end of last month.

Herd immunity is when an infectious disease stops naturally spreading in a population because enough people are protected against the disease.

Scientists disagree on what the exact herd immunity threshold is but top US medical official Dr Anthony Fauci has previously suggested it could be as high as 90 per cent.

The UK government’s Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance quoted a figure of 60 per cent back in March 2020 but scientists now believe it is much higher than that because the virus is more transmissible than previously thought.

Imperial College’s results formed part of data by SPI-M – whose calculations feed into the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE). 

SAGE released modelling in documents this week suggested that lifting lockdown curbs fully in June could lead to more than a thousand deaths a day this summer and push the NHS to the brink again. 

But UCL’s data suggests Britain could be well on its way to lifting lockdown fully by June 21, the date set out in Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown. 

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock said everyone should take a vaccine when their time comes, and the risk of experiencing a brain clot was the same as ‘taking a long-haul flight’.

He urged the under-30s, who will be offered an alternative vaccine to AstraZeneca, to take a jab to protect loved ones and avoid the risk of long Covid, adding there were was ‘more than enough’ Moderna and Pfizer for this age range.

In a round of broadcast interviews, Mr Hancock said vaccines are clearly breaking the link between Covid cases and deaths in the UK and were saving ‘thousands of lives’.

He told Sky News: ‘The number of people dying from Covid halved in the last nine days… and is down 90% from the peak.’

All vaccines in use in the UK were ‘safe for all ages’, but the ‘extremely rare’ risk of suffering a rare brain blood clot, and the tipping of the balance of risk for the under-30s, means they could be given other jabs instead.

Speaking directly to younger people who may be thinking they do not need a vaccine, Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast: ‘The vaccines are safe, and if you want to have the Pfizer vaccine or Moderna vaccine instead then that is fine.

‘Covid is a horrible disease and long Covid affects people in their 20s just as much it seems as any other age group and can have debilitating side effects that essentially ruin your life.’

He added: ‘The safety system that we have around this vaccine is so sensitive that it can pick up events that are four in a million (the chance of developing a rare brain blood clot) – I’m told this is about the equivalent risk of taking a long-haul flight.’

Mr Hancock said there were almost 10.2 million people aged 18 to 29 in the UK, of whom 1.6 million have had their first vaccine.

Professor Jeremy Brown, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said that the benefit of vaccinating young people is not just preventing severe disease.

He told Sky News: ‘It actually will prevent them catching Covid, and if they don’t get Covid then the chance of developing so-called long Covid – the symptoms you get which many people get, about 10%, after they’ve had even a very mild infection – that will prevent that.

‘It also allows younger people to visit their relatives who are elderly and more vulnerable to the disease, without the risk of infecting them.

‘Lastly, there are social benefits which have been much discussed over the past few days – travel, for example. I think it’s unlikely that people will be allowed to travel out of the country easily unless they have been vaccinated.’ 

Boris Johnson said: 'As the regulators have said, this vaccine is safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives – and the vast majority of people should continue to take it when offered'

Boris Johnson said: 'As the regulators have said, this vaccine is safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives – and the vast majority of people should continue to take it when offered'

Boris Johnson said: ‘As the regulators have said, this vaccine is safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives – and the vast majority of people should continue to take it when offered’ 

Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam underscored the improbability of suffering blood clots because of the AstraZeneca jab

Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam underscored the improbability of suffering blood clots because of the AstraZeneca jab

Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam underscored the improbability of suffering blood clots because of the AstraZeneca jab 

In low Covid levels, every 100,000 vaccines prevents 0.8 ICU admissions from coronavirus in people under 30 but 1.1 people will suffer blood clotting after having the jab, making the threat higher than the virus itself

In low Covid levels, every 100,000 vaccines prevents 0.8 ICU admissions from coronavirus in people under 30 but 1.1 people will suffer blood clotting after having the jab, making the threat higher than the virus itself

 In low Covid levels, every 100,000 vaccines prevents 0.8 ICU admissions from coronavirus in people under 30 but 1.1 people will suffer blood clotting after having the jab, making the threat higher than the virus itself

When there is medium prevalence, the threat of Covid still outweighs the chance of clots after AZ vaccine in every age group

When there is medium prevalence, the threat of Covid still outweighs the chance of clots after AZ vaccine in every age group

When there is medium prevalence, the threat of Covid still outweighs the chance of clots after AZ vaccine in every age group

When coronavirus is prevalent in society, 100,000 AstraZeneca vaccines prevent 127.7 Covid ICU admissions among 60 to 69-year-olds. For 20 to 29-year-olds, every 100,000 vaccine administered stops seven people in that age group from being admitted to intensive care with the disease

When coronavirus is prevalent in society, 100,000 AstraZeneca vaccines prevent 127.7 Covid ICU admissions among 60 to 69-year-olds. For 20 to 29-year-olds, every 100,000 vaccine administered stops seven people in that age group from being admitted to intensive care with the disease

When coronavirus is prevalent in society, 100,000 AstraZeneca vaccines prevent 127.7 Covid ICU admissions among 60 to 69-year-olds. For 20 to 29-year-olds, every 100,000 vaccine administered stops seven people in that age group from being admitted to intensive care with the disease

Clots are similar to condition linked to blood-thinning medicine, says Europe

The rare but potentially fatal blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine are similar to a condition suffered by patients treated with a blood-thinning medicine, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said.

Analysis of the jab, prompted by concerns about severe blood clots, concluded that most of the incidents occurred in women under 60 within two weeks of vaccination with the AstraZeneca product, but said no specific risk factors have been identified based on current evidence.

They said the body’s natural response, similar to conditions seen in patients treated with the anticoagulant heparin, might be a plausible explanation for the blood clotting side effect.

EMA safety committee chairwoman Dr Sabine Straus told a Brussels briefing on Wednesday: ‘Current available data did not allow us to identify a definite cause for these complications.

‘However possible plausible explanations have been put forward, including an immune response that leads to a condition that seems similar to atypical heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.’

The EMA said data showed the blood clots reported had been found in veins in the brain, the abdomen and arteries, combined with low levels of blood platelets and sometimes bleeding.

Symptoms associated with the blood clots include shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling in the leg, persistent abdominal pain, severe headaches, blurred vision and tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the area where the injection was administered, and anyone who displayed them should seek medical attention.

The EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee carried out an in-depth review of 62 cases of clots in the brain and 24 cases of clots in the abdomen as of March 22, with 18 of the combined cases proving fatal.

They came from reporting systems in the European Economic Area and the UK, from around 25 million people who had received the vaccine. 

Meanwhile, Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the JCVI, explained that the chance of suffering a clot after a vaccine was much lower than for other medicines or during pregnancy.

‘These are extremely rare events – much, much more rare than, for instance, clots due to common drugs that we prescribe such as the contraceptive pill; much rarer than clots during pregnancy; much, much rarer than clots due to Covid itself,’ he told BBC Breakfast.

‘We still feel this is a safe and effective vaccine where the benefits far outweigh the risks for the majority of people.

‘In many ways, it’s better to know the known than the unknown, so I would encourage anybody who’s been offered either their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and certainly their second dose, when there’s been no cases (of clots) for second doses, to receive it when offered.’

Prof Harnden insisted ‘the vaccination programme is going full steam ahead’ across the UK and ‘everybody should remain confident in it’.

Sir Keir Starmer said: ‘The AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, effective and saving thousands of lives. Trust in our doctors and scientists. When it is your turn to get the jab, do so. My first dose was AstraZeneca and I look forward to getting my second dose when it is offered.’ 

Professor Wei Shen Lim, coronavirus chairman for the vaccines committee, said: ‘The Covid-19 vaccines have already saved thousands of lives and the benefit for the majority of the population is clear – if you are offered a vaccine, you should take it.’ 

The blizzard of messages came after the MHRA announced at a press conference that those aged 18-29 will be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca jab – either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines that are currently on stream.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam described the change of tack as a ‘course correction that was ‘quite normal’.

He told the briefing: ‘This is a massive beast that we are driving along at enormous pace with enormous success, this vaccine programme.

‘If you sail a massive liner across the Atlantic then it’s not really reasonable that you aren’t going to have to make at least one course correction during that voyage.’ 

 

The MHRA has not yet established a causal link between the cases of clotting and the AstraZeneca vaccine, although the regulator said the evidence was becoming ‘firmer’.

The MHRA’s chief executive, Dr June Raine, said there is a ‘reasonably plausible’ link between the AstraZeneca jab and rare blood clots.

She said: ‘The evidence has accrued not only in numbers and kinds of cases but the pattern of those cases. So we feel it’s a much more solid basis in our regulatory world to put in the side effect into our product information and that tells us it is a reasonably plausible link.’

However, she said the clots were ‘extremely rare’, adding: ‘Based on the current evidence, the benefits of the Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca against Covid-19 and its associated risks – hospitalisation and death – continues to outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people.

‘Our review has reinforced that the risk of this rare suspected side effect remains extremely small.’

The 79 cases occurred in 51 women and 28 men, aged from 18 to 79. Of the 19 who died, three were under the age of 30, the MHRA said.

Some 14 cases of the 19 were cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a specific type of clot that prevents blood from draining from the brain. The other five cases were other kinds of thrombosis in major veins.

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, chairman of the Commission on Human Medicines, said: ‘The early evidence suggests that this constellation of symptoms is caused by an immune response against platelets which allows the platelets to then lead to clotting in different parts of the body.

‘But what we don’t have clearly is the link between the vaccine and how the immune response becomes activated against the platelets.’

He said any risks from the jab had to be set against the fact around 30 per cent of people with Covid suffer low blood platelet counts, while Covid also ’causes clotting’.

Some 7.8 per cent of people with Covid suffer blood clots on the lungs, while 11.2 per cent will suffer deep vein thrombosis (DVT), he added.

He said there appears to be a ‘slightly higher risk in the younger age group’ of clots after the AstraZeneca vaccine, but the reason is ‘not clear’ with further work required.

Separately, a review by the European Medicines Agency concluded on Wednesday that ‘unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects’ of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Emer Cooke, executive director of EMA, said its review ‘confirmed that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19 overall outweigh the risk of side effects’, adding: ‘Vaccination is extremely important in helping us in the fight against Covid-19.’   

The EMA, which polices the safety of drugs used on the continent, spotted 169 cases of cerebral vein thrombosis (CVST) and 53 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis (SVT), from 34million jabs. CVST occurs when a vein that drains blood from the brain is blocked by a clot. It can lead to a stroke. SVT is the same type of blood clot but it occurs in the digestive system

The EMA, which polices the safety of drugs used on the continent, spotted 169 cases of cerebral vein thrombosis (CVST) and 53 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis (SVT), from 34million jabs. CVST occurs when a vein that drains blood from the brain is blocked by a clot. It can lead to a stroke. SVT is the same type of blood clot but it occurs in the digestive system

The EMA, which polices the safety of drugs used on the continent, spotted 169 cases of cerebral vein thrombosis (CVST) and 53 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis (SVT), from 34million jabs. CVST occurs when a vein that drains blood from the brain is blocked by a clot. It can lead to a stroke. SVT is the same type of blood clot but it occurs in the digestive system 

Is it safe for me to get my second dose of AstraZeneca’s jab? What if I had blood clot symptoms first time round? Can I get mix-and-match to get Pfizer’s instead? What are the alternatives for under-30s? And what are the tell-tale symptoms of blood clots?

Britons were once again left with a raft of questions over the safety of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine after health chiefs today recommended it should not be given to under-30s because of its link to potentially deadly blood clots.

No10’s jab advisory panel says healthy people aged 18 to 29 be offered either Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine instead, when the programme moves to younger groups in the coming months.

The Government, opposition politicians and medical experts tonight rushed to shore up confidence in AstraZeneca’s vaccine, insisting that it was safe and the benefits far outweighed any risks for the vast majority.  

Here MailOnline answers all of your questions about AstraZeneca’s jab, revealing why it is safe for you to still get your second dose and what the alternatives are for under-30s. 

WHAT HAS HAPPENED? 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that healthy adults aged 18-29 are offered an alternative vaccine to the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, if available.

The recommendation follows a review by the UK’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, which found there was a ‘strong possibility’ that very rare blood clots, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), could be caused by the vaccine.

Dr June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, yesterday said the possible side effect was ‘extremely rare’, while the balance of benefits from having the jab are ‘still very favourable for the majority of people’. However, for healthy younger adults, for which the risk from coronavirus is far lower, it is more ‘finely balanced’.

SHOULD I STILL GET MY SECOND ASTRAZENECA JAB?

Anyone who has already had their first dose of AstraZeneca’s jab, regardless of their age, was today urged to still attend their second appointment as planned. 

Scientific trials have shown the British-made jab works better after two doses, with the UK’s current campaign based on dishing out top-ups after 12 weeks. 

The JCVI’s advice only applies to healthy under-30s — who should not yet have been invited for vaccines. 

But health bosses said NHS workers, carers and family members of vulnerable adults who are under-30 and have yet to get jabbed should also be offered an alternative vaccine. 

Regulators insisted the benefits of the jab — which has been repeatedly been proven to save lives and stop people falling severely ill with coronavirus — clearly outweigh the very small risk for everyone else.

Addressing the fears today, Boris Johnson said it was ‘very important for everybody to continue to get their top-up jab when you’re asked to come forward for your turn’.

WHAT IF I HAD TELL-TALE SYMPTOMS OF A CLOT THE FIRST TIME ROUND?

Brits who suffered flu-like symptoms after getting the first jab — which are common side effects of any vaccine — do not need to worry, experts say. 

Instead, only people who were actually diagnosed with a blood clot after getting the first dose should hold off on getting their booster shot. 

In its guidance today, the JCVI said the clots ‘appear to be an idiosyncratic reaction on first exposure’ to AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

There have been no recorded blood clots after a second dose – all 79 thrombocytopenia have been after first doses. 

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the JCVI, said: ‘We’ve not seen a single case of thrombosis after a second dose of AZ so far. So there is no evidence of a problem after the second dose. 

‘At the moment we would be voyaging into an evidence-free zone if we recommend people do not have a second dose. The evidence is there’s no risk we have found — but that may change.’ 

CAN I ‘MIX AND MATCH’ AND GET A SECOND DOSE OF PFIZER OR MODERNA IF I HAD AN ASTRAZENECA JAB FIRST?

Drug regulators have yet to approve a mix-and-match policy for jabs, meaning Brits must get the same vaccine twice.

Britain’s scientists are already looking at whether mixing and matching coronavirus vaccines is safe and can enhance protection against the disease. 

Experts believe the ‘mix and match’ approach could stimulate different parts of the immune system and give better, longer lasting immunity.

The tactic could also help Britain deal with supply shortages which has held back the UK’s otherwise successful vaccination rollout. 

CAN I CHOSE WHAT VACCINE I GET

No.

People under-30 will be offered an alternative vaccine, but they can still chose to have AstraZeneca.

WHAT OTHER JABS ARE AVAILABLE FOR UNDER-30S? 

More than 20million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have now been given in the UK, with the jab used as the main weapon in the UK’s arsenal.

The roll-out is unlikely to move on to under-30s for several months, meaning that supplies of the other jabs could be saved for younger adults.

Moderna’s jab was deployed in Britain for the first time today, with ministers having bought 17million doses — enough for 8.5million people. 

The chief scientist behind the US-developed Novavax vaccine, which Britain has secured 60million doses of, has said he expects it to be given the green light this month and rolled out in May.

A separate vaccine made by American pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson, which uses the same type of technology as AstraZeneca’s but is administered via a single injection, is slated for a summer rollout. No10 has bought 30million doses.

The UK has also ordered 40million Pfizer doses, enough for 20million people, but the majority of the country’s remaining stocks are reserved for second doses.    

But, given that AstraZeneca’s vaccine is the main driver of the campaign, the roll-out could be slowed if the UK’s change of heart on giving the jab to young adults knocks public confidence in 30-50 year olds. 

England's deputy chief medical officer Profess Jonathan Van-Tam said the new advice marked a 'course correction' for the UK's rollout - and reiterated that for the vast majority of people the 'benefits outweigh the risks'

England's deputy chief medical officer Profess Jonathan Van-Tam said the new advice marked a 'course correction' for the UK's rollout - and reiterated that for the vast majority of people the 'benefits outweigh the risks'

England’s deputy chief medical officer Profess Jonathan Van-Tam said the new advice marked a ‘course correction’ for the UK’s rollout – and reiterated that for the vast majority of people the ‘benefits outweigh the risks’

The Government wheeled out a series of graphs comparing the risk of falling ill with Covid compared to the threat of developing blood clots after getting the AZ vaccine in various age groups. In low Covid levels, every 100,000 vaccines prevents 0.8 ICU admissions from coronavirus in people under 30 but 1.1 people will suffer blood clotting after having the jab, making the threat higher than the virus itself

The Government wheeled out a series of graphs comparing the risk of falling ill with Covid compared to the threat of developing blood clots after getting the AZ vaccine in various age groups. In low Covid levels, every 100,000 vaccines prevents 0.8 ICU admissions from coronavirus in people under 30 but 1.1 people will suffer blood clotting after having the jab, making the threat higher than the virus itself

The Government wheeled out a series of graphs comparing the risk of falling ill with Covid compared to the threat of developing blood clots after getting the AZ vaccine in various age groups. In low Covid levels, every 100,000 vaccines prevents 0.8 ICU admissions from coronavirus in people under 30 but 1.1 people will suffer blood clotting after having the jab, making the threat higher than the virus itself

When coronavirus is prevalent in society, 100,000 AstraZeneca vaccines prevent 127.7 Covid ICU admissions among 60 to 69-year-olds. For 20 to 29-year-olds, every 100,000 vaccine administered stops seven people in that age group from being admitted to intensive care with the disease

When coronavirus is prevalent in society, 100,000 AstraZeneca vaccines prevent 127.7 Covid ICU admissions among 60 to 69-year-olds. For 20 to 29-year-olds, every 100,000 vaccine administered stops seven people in that age group from being admitted to intensive care with the disease

When coronavirus is prevalent in society, 100,000 AstraZeneca vaccines prevent 127.7 Covid ICU admissions among 60 to 69-year-olds. For 20 to 29-year-olds, every 100,000 vaccine administered stops seven people in that age group from being admitted to intensive care with the disease

 

WHAT ARE THE BLOOD CLOTS LINKED TO ASTRAZENECA’S JAB? 

European health chiefs today ruled that AstraZeneca’s Covid jab should come with a warning that, in very rare cases, it may cause potentially deadly blood clots.

The EMA, which polices the safety of drugs used on the continent, spotted 169 cases of cerebral vein thrombosis (CVST) and 53 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis (SVT), from 34million jabs. 

CVST occurs when a vein that drains blood from the brain is blocked by a clot. It can lead to a stroke.

SVT is the same type of blood clot but it occurs in the digestive system.

Both the EMA and their UK counterparts said the clots had occurred alongside thrombocytopenia — low levels of blood platelets. 

WHAT SYMPTOMS DO THE CLOTS CAUSE?

The EMA said symptoms of the two blood clots included:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling of leg
  • Persistent stomach pain
  • Severe headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Skin bruising beyond the site of injection

IS THERE ANY PROOF THE JAB CAUSES THE BLOOD CLOTS?

Scientists have repeatedly insisted there is no proof that AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine causes the blood clots.

But officials are still investigating the link and can’t rule it out completely.

Although there isn’t any evidence that clots are developing because of vaccinations, some academics have a theory that it is the immune reaction making it happen.

Research teams in Germany and Norway claim the blood clotting issue may be caused by the jab, in very rare cases, making the body attack its own platelets.

Platelets are tiny chunks of cells inside blood that the body uses to build clots to stop bleeding when someone is injured. But they can also make unwanted clots.

Experts from Oslo and Greifswald University believe the jab could cause the body to produce antibodies – normally used to fight off viruses – which mistake platelets in the blood for foreign invaders and attack them.

To compensate, the body then overproduces platelets to replace those that are being attacked, causing the blood to thicken and raising the risk of clotting. 

The researchers say the phenomenon is similar to one that can occur in heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), when sufferers take a drug called heparin. 

HOW OFTEN ARE THE CLOTS OCCURRING? 

Figures presented by the EMA today — which took into account data up until April 4 — suggested the clots occur once in every 150,000 jabs. They also said most of the cases were in women under 60.

The MHRA, which plays the same role in the UK, found 79 cases of clots in 20million doses by the end of March. Officials said the risk was around one in every 250,000 doses.  

They also insisted the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people — but that the ratio was more ‘finely balanced’ in younger people, who are slightly more prone to blood clots. 

LBC claimed that the MHRA revealed the baseline rate of CVST was between five and 16 cases per million people each year. The MHRA has spotted 44 cases of that blood clot — a rate of two cases per million people every three months.

EMA chiefs said that clots occurred more often than expected, prompting them to say the jabs need to come with the warning that it is a rare side effect. 

But it said the committee investigating the link did not conclude that age and gender were clear risk factors for the very rare side effects. 

ARE THERE MORE CASES OF CVST THAN EXPECTED?

The normal background rate of these clots is uncertain with estimates ranging between two and 16 cases per million people occurring naturally a year. While still incredibly rare, the incidents of these clots among patients who have had the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab are slightly higher than they should be.

What exactly is CVST and should I be worried?

CVST is where potentially fatal clots form in the veins that run from the brain. Unusually, this is occurring with thrombocytopenia – abnormally low levels of blood cells called platelets. Platelets cause blood to clot, so while not unheard of, it is incredibly rare for people with low levels to develop clots. The most severe signs of CVST include stroke-like symptoms such as weakness of the face and limbs on one side of the body, seizures, coma and ultimately death.

But anyone who has suffered headaches, blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, abdominal pain and bruising or pinpoint spots below the vaccination site for four days after a jab should seek medical attention. 

IF THE JAB IS TO BLAME, WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE CAUSES?

If the jab is to blame, what are the possible causes?

Scientists are exploring several possibilities. European investigators have put forward one theory that the vaccine triggers an unusual antibody in some rare cases, similar to conditions seen in patients treated with the anticoagulant – commonly known as blood thinner – heparin. The autoimmune disorder called heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) leads to plummeting platelet counts and clotting.

Others are looking at whether the cases – which seem more common in women – are linked to birth control pills. However, at the moment scientists say there is no definitive evidence.

HAVE THESE CLOTS BEEN LINKED TO ANY OTHER VACCINES? 

No cases of CVST with low platelets have been linked to the Pfizer vaccine in the UK, with just two serious clots reported more widely. Experts suggest this could be to do with the technology in mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna, compared to those using adenoviruses, for example, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Trials of the latter have shown possible clots, although scientists stressed they were incredibly rare with three reported cases in 4.5million jabs administered.

So far, only the Oxford jab has been linked to possible raised levels of clotting. All vaccines will continue to be monitored.

HOW COULD THE JAB BE CAUSING BLOOD CLOTS? 

One plausible explanation for how the AstraZeneca vaccine could cause clots is that it provokes an immune response that leads to a condition that seems similar to atypical heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. 

European regulator the EMA said data showed the blood clots reported had been found in veins in both the brain and abdomen, and occurred alongside low levels of blood platelets and sometimes bleeding. 

During a simultaneous briefing in the UK by the MHRA and JCVI, Sir Munir Pirmohamed said: ‘The early evidence suggests that this constellation of symptoms is caused by an immune response against platelets which allows the platelets to then lead to clotting in different parts of the body.

‘But what we don’t have clearly is the link between the vaccine and how the immune response becomes activated against the platelets.’

Research teams in Germany and Norway claim the blood clotting issue may be caused by the jab, in very rare cases, making the body attack its own platelets.

Platelets are tiny chunks of cells inside blood that the body uses to build clots to stop bleeding when someone is injured. But they can also make unwanted clots.

Experts from Oslo and Greifswald University believe the jab could cause the body to produce antibodies – normally used to fight off viruses – which mistake platelets in the blood for foreign invaders and attack them.

To compensate, the body then overproduces platelets to replace those that are being attacked, causing the blood to thicken and raising the risk of clotting. 

WHICH COUNTRIES HAVE ALREADY RESTRICTED THE JAB TO OLDER PEOPLE?

Germany last week temporarily banned the AstraZeneca vaccine for under-60s, while France took the same controversial move for under-55s.

Iceland has restricted it to over-70s, while Finland, Sweden and Lithuania all say it can only be given to adults over the age of 65.

Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Latvia have all suspended the jab completely, while regulators probe the link further.

But the EMA refused to back any of the nations in their age-restricted roll-outs. Last week it publicly said there was no evidence to justify sweeping bans for younger people. 

IF I’M PREGNANT, SHOULD I GET THE VACCINE? 

The advice on this has not changed, meaning it’s recommended that those who are pregnant should not be vaccinated, with some exceptions. This is because the vaccines have not yet been tested in pregnancy.

While there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccine would harm the baby, pregnancy is more likely to lead to thrombosis.

Therefore women should discuss with their healthcare professional whether the benefits of having the vaccine outweigh the risks for them.

I’M 29. WHAT IF THEY ONLY OFFER THE OXFORD VACCINE? 

Officials say this will not happen unless you have an underlying medical condition and are prioritised. In such instances, they say the benefit of having the vaccine far outweighs any issues as you have an equivalent risk from coronavirus as 65 to 70-year-olds. For healthy under-30s, officials are confident there are sufficient supplies of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines coming on stream to vaccinate all 10million 18 to 29-year-olds in the UK. 

I’VE HEARD ASPIRIN CAN STOP BLOOD CLOTTING. SHOULD I TAKE IT BEFORE THE JAB? 

No. The risks of an adverse clotting event are extremely low. Taking aspirin or anti-coagulants can increase the risk of bleeding and is not

 

 

 


Source link

bourbiza

Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button