Countries Suspend Use of AstraZeneca Shots Over Worries About Blood Clots

on 14 March 2021

The New York Times - March 11, 2021

 The New York Times publish on Thursday march 11 about the worries in Europe and the warning response to the new British covid,  vaccine, the health authorities in three European countries on Thursday suspended use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine because of concerns that it might increase the risk of blood clots, but emphasized that they were taking action as a precaution and that there is no evidence of any causal link.

 Denmark acted after a 60-year-old woman who received a shot died after developing a blood clot. Several other European countries had recently stopped using doses from the same batch of the vaccine after some reports of severe blood clots, and European drug regulators are investigating.

 In the flurry of suspensions on Thursday, Norway and Iceland followed Denmark’s lead. Italy and Romania also paused shots, but only from a different batch of the vaccine than the one that had raised concerns elsewhere.

 Public health experts expect medical conditions to turn up by chance in some people after they get any vaccine, just by chance. In the vast majority of cases such illnesses have nothing to do with the shots. Most other countries where the vaccine has been given to many millions of people have not reported similar red flags.

  

The safety scare is a setback for AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which has already struggled with a perception that it is a less desirable shot because it had a lower overall efficacy rate in clinical trials than some others. There is, however, extensive data showing that the vaccine is safe and effective, and especially good at preventing severe illness and death. And in many places across the world, it is the only shot available.

 

As of Wednesday, 30 cases of obstructive blood clots had been reported among nearly five million people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine in the European Union and three other European countries — a rate no higher than in the general population, the European Medicines Agency said. The agency, Europe’s main drug regulator, said that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh any risks.

   

The agency also said that there is no indication the vaccine “has caused these conditions.”

 Gonzalo Viña, a spokesman for AstraZeneca, said the company’s data have not turned up such safety issues. “An analysis of our safety data of more than 10 million records has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country,” he said.

 Blood clots, particularly if they are large, can damage tissue or organs like the lungs, heart or brain. Severe cases can be fatal, but people with small clots can often be treated outside of a hospital with prescription drugs.

 Daniel Salmon, director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins University, said that authorities noticing the cases and investigating them is a sign of the system working as it should. “I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions that because you saw some blood clots after vaccination that they’re causal,” he said. “It warrants looking at it more carefully.”

 

 

 

Dr. Salmon said he is worried that an unsubstantiated safety scare will cause public panic and deter people from taking a vaccine that is badly needed to end the pandemic.

 

 

 

 

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