EU Supports AstraZeneca Vaccine Despite Potential to Cause Blood Clots


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Rabat – An EU regulatory body released a statement about the “probable causal” link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and the formation of blood clots. 

Europe adopted the AstraZeneca vaccine in the early days of the global vaccination campaign. However, many EU members halted its use after a rise in the cases of blood clots forming in its recipients. 

The European Union’s drug regulator stated that the formation of blood clots potentially linked to AstraZeneca is a “rare” occurrence, and noted that blood clotting occurred in mostly women under the age of 60. Additionally, the regulator suggested that adults under 30 with no underlying health conditions should seek an alternative to AstraZeneca.

Out of the nearly 34 million vaccinated, the EU recorded 169 cases of blood clotting in the brain, which is classified as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. Data revealed an additional 53 cases of blood clot formation in the abdomen, known as splanchnic vein thrombosis.

Many of those awaiting vaccination expressed discomfort with the potential side effects of the vaccine but officials reassured the public that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the potentially fatal symptoms of contracting COVID-19.

Other side effects of the vaccine may serve as warning signs for blood clotting. “Shortness of breath, abnormal swelling, and abdominal pain are signs of blood clotting,” says the European regulatory body for drugs. Officials stated that it is too early to give a definitive answer on the correlation between the AstraZeneca vaccine and the formation of blood clots.

Dr. Sabine Strauss of the EU’s drug regulatory body considers the discovery of blood clots a significant step in the success of mass vaccination campaigns as “it also demonstrates that the region’s pharmacovigilance system works.”

Although many countries stopped administering the AstraZeneca vaccine, officials announced March 18 that the vaccine was safe and effective.

AstraZeneca vowed to update the vaccine’s side effect information to reflect the potential for blood clotting amongst the other potential symptoms.