Europe

EU medicine regulator finds possible link between AstraZeneca jab and blood clots

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it has found a possible link between the Coronavirus jab, developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical AstraZeneca and the Oxford University and the occurrence of blood clots. 

“EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) has concluded today that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of Vaxzevria,” the Amsterdam Based company said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

“However, the PRAC has confirmed that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19 overall outweigh the risks of side effects,” said Emer Cooke, EMA’s executive director.

The conclusion was reached after more than 80 cases in Europe were reviewed, 18 of which were fatal. The Chair of EMA’s safety committee, Sabine Straus said that “although most of the cases occurred in people under 60 years and in women, due to different ways the vaccine in being used in different countries, PRAC did not conclude that age and gender were clear risk factors for these very rare side effects.”

PRAC said that the blood clots occurred in veins in the brain and in arteries, together with low levels of blood platelets and sometimes bleeding, noting that “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 EU agency stressed that although the chance of having this side effect is very low, it is imperative that the receivers of the jab be aware of the possibility in order to get prompt medical treatment. 

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