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Rabu, 07 April 2021

AstraZeneca vaccine: EU confirms blood clots ‘possible side-effect’ - NEWS.com.au

The UK has confirmed that under-30s will be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine as Europe’s medicine regulator confirmed that “unusual blood clots” should be listed as a “very rare” side-effect of the jab.

“EMA’s safety committee has concluded today that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effect,” the European Medicines Agency said in a statement ahead of a press conference on AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

But it stressed that the benefits of the COVID-19 jab developed by the British-Swedish drugmaker and Oxford University continued to outweigh the risks.

The press conference came as the UK government said people aged 18-29 would be offered a different vaccine, such as those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the U-turn was a “course correction” for the UK’s “very successful” vaccine rollout, adding that for most age groups the “risks outweigh the benefits”.

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said that of 20 million people given the vaccine up to March 31, 79 blood clot cases and 19 deaths had been reported.

“The risk is four people in a million,” said MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine.

While countries including Canada and Germany have restricted rollout of the vaccine to older populations, the EU’s drug regulator said on Wednesday that no specific risk factors such as age had been identified for blood clots.

RELATED: How worried should you be about blood clots?

RELATED: AstraZeneca jab’s link to clots ‘clear’

“Specific risk factors such as age, gender or medical history have not been able to be confirmed, as the rare events are seen in all ages,” EMA chief Emer Cooke told a news conference.

She said that one “plausible explanation for these rare side effects is an immune response to the vaccine.”

The EMA said that so far, most of the cases reported have occurred in women under 60. It advised healthcare professionals to remain aware of the possibility of very rare cases of blood clots, as well as low levels of blood platelets, occurring within two weeks of vaccination.

COVID-19 continues to cause thousands of deaths in Europe alone and the AstraZeneca vaccine is highly effective.

However, concerns over very rare cases of patients suffering blood clots after receiving the vaccine has seen several countries including Italy suspend their rollout of the jab.

Canada last week suspended its use of the vaccine in people aged under 55 and Germany restricted use to the over-60s.

European Union health ministers have been told that the announcement would have an “immediate impact on vaccination plans” and “vaccine confidence”, according to an EU document seen by Reuters news agency.

Italy in particular has already seen an increase in vaccine hesitancy following the questions around the AstraZeneca jab.

— With AFP

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2021-04-07 15:00:00Z
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