AstraZeneca said it was working with European and British regulators to change product information on its vaccines. The move comes after authorities suspect a possible cerebral blood clot is a rare side effect of the vaccine.
However, the benefits of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine far outweigh the risks. “Both this review reaffirmed that the vaccine offered high levels of protection against all severity Covid-19 and that these benefits continue to far outweigh the risks,” AstraZeneca said in a statement, quoted by Reuters , Wednesday (04/07/2021).
“However, they came to the view that this event had a possible vaccine-related link and requested that they be listed as a very rare potential side effect,” he continued.
Recommended for adults under 50 years
Meanwhile, Chairman of the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) Wei Shen Lim suggested that the AstraZeneca vaccine should be given to adults under 30 years of age who do not have underlying conditions.
“We suggest a preference for one vaccine over another for certain age groups, with extreme caution, rather than because we have serious safety concerns,” said Lim. The chief executive of the UK’s MHRA drug regulator June Raine said more than 20 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine had been given by March 31 with 79 reported cases of side effects and 19 deaths. All these conditions were reported after the first dose of injection.
Even so, Raine emphasized that the benefits of injecting the vaccine outweigh the risks for most people. European and British medicine regulators have investigated a small number of reports of brain blood clots known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). Clotting occurs in combination with a very low blood platelet level after the person has been given the injection. Chairman of the Commission on Human Medicines Munir Pirmohamed said there was a link between brain blood clots, lower platelets, and the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“Preliminary evidence suggests that this symptom cluster is caused by an immune response to the platelets which allows the platelets to then cause clots in various parts of the body,” he explained. “But what we don’t have a clear connection between vaccines and how the immune response is activated against platelets. That’s where scientific research needs to be continued to identify what that link is,” said Munir Pirmohamed.
However, this condition does not limit the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine in a number of countries, such as Brazil, Mexico and Australia. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia currently has no plans to change AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout in the country. “No one advised at this stage that there will be any changes, but we will update further if there is a change,” said Morrison, quoted by Reuters , Thursday (04/08/2021).
Australian authorities have ordered an immediate investigation into the findings although they continue to maintain that the AstraZeneca dosage is safe and effective for most people. Meanwhile, Brazil’s health regulator, Anvisa, recommends continued use of the vaccine and says the benefits outweigh the risks.