The British medical regulator said on Saturday that out of 30 people who suffered from rare blood clots after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, seven had died.
UK recognition of the deaths comes as several European countries have suspended use of the AstraZeneca jab due to a potential link to blood clots.
The UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said in a statement that “of the 30 reports up to and including March 24, 7 have sadly died”.
Reports of thrombosis, submitted by doctors or members of the public via a government website, came after 18.1 million doses of the vaccine were administered in the country.
Most of the cases (22) were a rare coagulation disorder called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. Eight cases saw people suffer from other types of thrombosis combined with low levels of blood platelets, which help blood to clot.
There have been no reports of blood clots from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the UK regulator said, adding that “our further review of these reports is ongoing.”
But MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine stressed that the benefits far outweighed the risks. “The public should continue to be vaccinated when asked to do so,” she said.
Europe update expected
The MHRA and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) say a causal link has yet to be established between the blood clotting case and the AstraZeneca vaccine.
But growing concerns have prompted a number of countries to suspend vaccine deployment or limit it to the elderly due to the relatively young ages of those who have suffered from blood clots.
The Netherlands halted vaccinations with the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under the age of 60 on Friday after five new cases in younger women, one of whom died.
Germany has suspended use of the vaccine for those under the age of 60 after 31 cases of blood clots, most in younger and middle-aged women.
A number of other countries, including France, have imposed similar age restrictions, while Denmark and Norway have suspended all use of the vaccine.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA), which like the World Health Organization previously declared the AstraZeneca vaccine safe, is expected to announce updated advice on the matter on April 7.
He said on Wednesday there had been 62 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis worldwide, including 44 in the European Economic Area, which includes the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
This figure, however, did not include all cases from Germany.
Over 9.2 million AstraZeneca jabs have been administered in the region.
The EMA said it believes the vaccine is safe and that experts have not found any specific risk factors such as age, gender or medical history.
“Weight of proof”
Paul Hunter, a medical microbiologist at the British University of East Anglia, told TBEN he initially thought the link between vaccination and blood clots was likely to be a “random association”.
As cluster evidence grows in separate countries, “the weight of evidence now is that Oxford-AstraZeneca is really the cause of these adverse events,” he said.
Nonetheless, the risk for the unvaccinated of dying from Covid is “significantly greater,” he said.
A spokeswoman for AstraZeneca told TBEN that patient safety was her “top priority”.
Regulators in the UK, EU and World Health Organization have concluded that the benefits “far outweigh the risks in all adult age groups,” she said. declared.
AstraZeneca said last month following US efficacy trials that its vaccine was 76% effective in preventing the disease. He also said data for the EU and UK did not show an increased risk of blood clots.
The UK has administered over 31 million first doses of the vaccine, using both Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech injections. People can’t choose which one they get.
The United Kingdom ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in June 2020 and supported its development. It also ordered 30 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the same year.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by The Bharat Express News staff and is posted Platforms.)