Examinations into 62 cases confirm a “clear link” between the AstraZeneca vaccine and deadly blood clots in the brain, an official with the European Medicines Agency confirmed last week. There are a total of 79 blood clot cases in the UK, with 19 deaths prior to April.
Known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), the clots are accompanied by low levels of platelets and “rare antibodies” in the blood linked to other clotting disorders. The UK has paused a trial on children’s vaccines while the clots continue to be investigated.
There are now 24 confirmed cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis, or clotting in the abdomen, with 18 being fatal.
Reuters reported that a high proportion of the affected cases were of young and middle-aged women, but the EMA has not yet concluded if they are particularly at risk from the shot. UK regulators say of the 79 cases that were documented, 51 were women and 28 were men.
Two studies, in Germany and Norway, indicate the shot may cause the body to activate its own platelets – blood cells which form clots to stop bleeding.
This causes the blood to thicken, leading to potentially deadly clots. Norwegian professor Pål Andre Holme claimed this was the “most likely” cause.
Marco Cavaleri, the chair of the vaccine evaluation team at the EMA, told the Italian newspaper Il Messagero that in his opinion, “we can now say it is clear that there is an association (of the brain blood clots) with the vaccine.”
The EMA is currently investigating 44 reports of the brain clotting that have occurred in the European Economic Area of people who have received the vaccine.
Of the 44 cases of the blood clots, 7 people died just since the last figures of March 24 the British government’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency added.
“This raises the possibility that the vaccine could be a causal factor in these rare and unusual cases of CVST, though we don’t know this yet, so more research is urgently needed,” said Professor David Werring, from the UCL Institute of Neurology last week.
The agency is expected to publish its review of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday or Thursday, with Cavaleri confirming to the newspaper that the review would note that there is a link between the blood clots and the vaccine. However, the review was “not likely to give an indication… regarding the ages of individuals to whom the AstraZeneca shot should be given.”
A 38-year-old French woman died from thrombosis 14 days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The woman did not suffer from any known health problems but was given one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine just before it was suspended in France mid-March.
She started experiencing health issues, including strong headaches, two days after receiving the vaccine.
One week later, she was unable to move the left side of her body and was admitted to Purpan Hospital. She had developed a blood clot and was put into a medically-induced coma before her death.