According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), there is a link between the Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots.
Despite the findings, the EMA notes that the overall benefit-risk remains positive, adding that the vaccine is still the best protection against the COVID-19 virus.
EMA explained that they looked at 18 deaths in their analysis and concluded that there was a “possibility” of very rare cases of blood clots, combined with low levels of blood platelets, occurring within two weeks of vaccination.
The agency went on to offer a “plausible explanation” for the rare side effects, noting that it was likely an immune response to the vaccine.
“One plausible explanation for the combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is an immune response, leading to a condition similar to one seen sometimes in patients treated with heparin (heparin induced thrombocytopenia, HIT). The PRAC has requested new studies and amendments to ongoing ones to provide more information and will take any further actions necessary,” added EMA in the release.
EMA further noted that people who have received the vaccine should seek medical assistance immediately, if they develop symptoms of this combination of blood clots and low blood platelets.
“EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) concluded today that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of Vaxzevria (formerly COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca),” stated a release from the EMA on Wednesday (April 7).
While EMA continues to recommend the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, other health agencies in the European Union have recommended that an alternative to the AstraZeneca jab be offered to individuals under-30 due to the blood clots issue.
Seventy-nine people in the UK suffered rare blood clots after receiving the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine,19 of them died. The regulator said this was not proof that the vaccine caused the clots, but noted that there was a link.
Nearly two thirds of the cases of rare blood clots were seen in women, with those who died ranging between ages 18 and 79.
EMA evaluates and supervises medicine use for all of the EU, including drug approval