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Coronavirus: AstraZeneca rejects association with blood clots

Coronavirus: AstraZeneca rejects association with blood clots

Following reports of complications from blood clots after vaccination, some countries in the EU have temporarily suspended the use of the vaccine. Germany and the UK are still sticking to AstraZeneca.

12:18 p.m., March 15, 2021

© AFP

AstraZeneca has defended its Covid-19 vaccine after reports of side effects. No increased risk of blood clots is seen in connection with the vaccine. An analysis of all the safety data of more than 17 million people who were vaccinated with the agent in the EU and the UK no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or a decrease in blood platelets AstraZeneca said on Sunday evening.

Following reports of complications from blood clots after vaccination, the The Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland temporarily suspended the use of the vaccine. Italy and Austria stopped using certain batches.

“Precautionary measure” of the Netherlands

The Netherlands spoke on Sunday of a “precautionary measure”. “We cannot leave any doubts about the vaccine,” said Health Minister Hugo de Jonge. There were no incidents in the Netherlands and there was no evidence of a link between the vaccination and reports of possible serious side effects from Denmark and Norway. “We have to make sure everything is okay, so it is advisable to take a break for now.”

In Austria, a 49-year-old nurse from the Zwettl State Hospital died as a result of severe coagulation disorders, a 35-year-old colleague developed a pulmonary embolism, but was recently on the mend. In these two cases in Lower Austria, the women concerned had previously received vaccinations from the same batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In Italy, meanwhile, after the interim stop for vaccinations with the corona vaccine from Astrazeneca in parts of the country, experts warned against hasty conclusions about the safety of the product. The vaccines are safe, said the president of the Italian drug agency Aifa, Giorgio Palù, in an interview with the newspaper “La Repubblica” (Monday). With more vaccinations, more undesirable side effects would be registered.

In the past week, the Aifa in Sicily stopped the administration of a batch of Astrazeneca, after a Marine died about a day after being vaccinated. At the weekend, the north-western region of Piedmont also stopped vaccinations with the vaccine from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company for a few hours. As the region announced, during this time the batch was found from which a teacher who had died was vaccinated.

“In the case of Sicily, there are 500,000 doses, 250,000 of which arrived in Italy and 170,000 were administered without any undesirable side effects,” explained Palù. The Italian Ministry of Health is also sticking to the vaccine. “Astrazeneca is helping to protect against the epidemic,” Franco Locatelli, an expert from the ministry, told the Corriere della Sera newspaper (Monday). No jumping to conclusions about a causal relationship should be made. Millions of people in Europe would have received Astrazeneca’s vaccine without developing any problems.

A spokesman for the German Ministry of Health said Germany would continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine. You take the reports seriously and constantly check the data situation. At the moment, however, the line of the federal government remains to continue using the vaccine.

“No evidence” of AstraZeneca connection

Great Britain also continues to use AstraZeneca’s corona vaccine. “We are scrutinizing the reports, but given the large number of doses given and the frequency with which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause,” said Phil Bryan of the UK Medicines Agency (MHRA) according to a message.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said last week that there was no evidence that the cases of blood clots were caused by the vaccination with AstraZeneca – an assessment that the World Health Organization WHO and the German Paul Ehrlich Institute also endorsed. AstraZeneca said 15 cases of deep vein thrombosis and 22 cases of pulmonary embolism have been reported so far, which is comparable to other approved Covid-19 vaccines.

“Overall, based on the current state of knowledge, it can be assumed that there is a high probability that there is no causal connection between the vaccination and the few thromboembolic events – instead of a causality, a coincidence should be assumed, i.e. more chance than cause,” explained Clemens Wendtner, chief physician in infectious diseases and tropical medicine at the Munich Clinic Schwabing. It is now “regrettably another supposedly negative news in the world that damages the image of the vaccine and the vaccination campaign as a whole.”

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