AstraZeneca says no signs COVID vaccine hikes blood clot risk

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AstraZeneca has found no evidence that its COVID-19 vaccine increases the risk of blood clots like those that led several countries to halt their rollout of the shot.

The British drugmaker tried to quell safety concerns after blood clots emerged in some people who had been vaccinated, prompting about a dozen nations to stop using some or all of their doses.

AstraZeneca’s review of safety data from more than 17 million people who received the jab in the UK and the European Union found no evidence of a higher risk for pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis, conditions associated with blood clots, the company said in a Sunday statement.

There were also no signs of a higher risk for thrombocytopenia, or a low count of blood platelets, according to AstraZeneca.

“Around 17 million people in the EU and UK have now received our vaccine, and the number of cases of blood clots reported in this group is lower than the hundreds of cases that would be expected among the general population,” said Ann Taylor, AstraZeneca’s chief medical officer.

“The nature of the pandemic has led to increased attention in individual cases and we are going beyond the standard practices for safety monitoring of licensed medicines in reporting vaccine events, to ensure public safety.”

AstraZeneca’s statement came after the World Health Organization said countries should continue using the “excellent” vaccine amid the blood clot fears.

People wear protective masks while waiting to be vaccinated at a West Virginia United Health System COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Morgantown, West Virginia.
People wear protective masks while waiting to be vaccinated at a West Virginia United Health System COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Justin Merriman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Health officials have said there’s no indication the jab caused the blood clots that have led seven countries — including Ireland, Thailand and the Netherlands — to suspend or push back their distribution of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

Italy, Austria and four other European countries have stopped using doses from certain batches of the vaccine while health authorities investigate the concerns.

AstraZeneca said it knew of 15 cases of deep vein thrombosis and 22 pulmonary embolism cases among vaccinated people in the EU and the UK, a number “much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size.”

“The company is keeping this issue under close review but available evidence does not confirm that the vaccine is the cause,” AstraZeneca said. “To overcome the pandemic, it is important that people get vaccinated when invited to do so.”

There are also no confirmed quality problems with any batch of AstraZeneca’s vaccine that’s been used across Europe or anywhere else in the world, the company said.

AstraZeneca’s US-listed shares were roughly flat in premarket trading Monday at $48.44 as of 7:17 a.m.

With Post wires

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