AstraZeneca Covid vaccine possibly linked to rare blood clots: EU drug regulator
- Several European countries have temporarily suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine amid concerns over the reports of blood clotting in vaccinated individuals.
The EU’s drug regulator on Wednesday said that the reported cases of blood clotting should be listed as a possible side effect of AstraZeneca's vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). "One plausible explanation for the combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is an immune response, leading to a condition similar to one seen sometimes in patients treated with heparin," the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said.
The findings come at a time when countries around the world are trying to intensify their vaccination drive amid a fresh wave of infections. However, the health agency reiterated that the benefits of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine in preventing the disease outweigh the overall risk. It also didn't place any age restrictions on administering the vaccine in the younger population, as some countries have done.
“The risk of mortality from Covid is much greater than the risk of mortality from these side effects,” Emer Cooke, the agency's executive director, told a press briefing.
Several European countries have temporarily suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine amid concerns over the reports of blood clotting in vaccinated individuals. The Netherlands halted vaccination in people under the age of 60 as a "precautionary measure" following the death of a woman who had received an AstraZeneca shot.
France, Germany, and Sweden are among the European nations restricting AstraZeneca use in younger people, while Denmark and Norway have completely paused its use. Last week, the UK’s medicine regulator confirmed the death of seven individuals from unusual blood clots after they were administered with AstraZeneca vaccine.
At least 79 cases of blood clots were reported in Britain as of March 31, according to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), triggering fresh concerns over a possible link between cases of blood coagulation and the AstraZeneca vaccine. The UK’s drug regulator is set to address safety concerns surrounding AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine separately on Wednesday.