Assessing AstraZeneca’s vaccine: Are those who get the shot in danger of blood clots or are governments being overly cautious?

Credit: Shutterstock
Credit: Shutterstock

[A] few cases of a rare blood-clotting disorder — some fatal — emerged within the past month or so, [and] many European nations began to rethink [the use of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine] across all age groups.

Several of those countries, well stocked with alternate vaccines, have now limited use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford shot to older people, and a few have stopped using it altogether.

While the incidence of these clotting disorders is extremely low, regulators and researchers are trying to raise public awareness of certain symptoms — including headaches, leg swelling and abdominal pain.

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As of April 4, European regulators had received reports of 222 cases of the rare blood-clotting problem in Britain and the 30-nation European Economic Area… They said that… the clotting problems were appearing at a rate of about one in 100,000 recipients.

European regulators said that as of March 22, they had carried out detailed reviews of 86 cases, 18 of which had been fatal.

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[However,] the risk of being admitted to intensive care with Covid exceeded the dangers of the blood clots in almost every scenario. The only group for whom they said the risk of the clotting problems outstripped that of coronavirus-related intensive care admissions was people under 30 living in a place with low rates of Covid cases.

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