Coronavirus live updates: Australia reviewing blood clot case in man who received AstraZeneca vaccine
British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca faced fresh challenges to its coronavirus vaccine as Britain’s medicines regulator said Thursday that it found 30 cases of rare blood clot events following the shot’s use — and Australia announced that it was investigating a possible link between the vaccine and clotting in a man who was recently immunized.
The European Union’s drug regulator and World Health Organization have both vouched for the safety of the vaccine, jointly produced by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, in recent weeks amid growing concerns that it may have caused perhaps dozens of rare blood clot disorders in Europe, out of tens of millions of administered doses.
The European Medicines Agency is also investigating 14 deaths that occurred in the post-inoculation period.
On Friday, Australia’s chief medical officer said that health officials were taking “very seriously” reports of a 44-year-old man who was admitted to a Melbourne hospital with low platelets and possible clotting just days after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot.
The nation’s Therapeutic Goods Administration was scheduled to meet Saturday to determine whether the man’s disorder is connected to the vaccine, Australian media reported.
The panel, known as STIKO, recommended in new guidance Thursday that residents under 60 who have already received a first AstraZeneca shot be given a second dose of an mRNA vaccine, such as those developed by U.S. biotech company Moderna and U.S. pharmaceutical firm Pfizer with German partner BioNTech.
“Until the appropriate data is available, STIKO recommends for people under 60 years old that instead of the second AstraZeneca dose, a dose of an mRNA-vaccine should be given 12 weeks after the first vaccine,” the panel said, Reuters reported.
Britain’s medical regulatory agency said Thursday that in the period ending March 24, it had received 30 reports of thrombosis events following vaccinations with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine — 25 more than previously reported. In contrast, there were no similar reports for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Still, those events were out of more than 18 million administered Oxford-AstraZeneca doses.
“On the basis of this ongoing review, the benefits of the vaccines against COVID-19 continue to outweigh any risks,” the agency said in a statement.