AstraZeneca: No evidence vaccine produces blood clots says UK regulator after countries suspend use

Evidence does not suggest the AstraZeneca vaccine is the cause of blood clots, the UK regulator has said.

A woman receives an injection of the the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at Elland Road vaccine centre in Leeds picture: Danny Lawson/PA

The announcement comes as Ireland suspended use of the jab on Sunday out of caution following reports of serious clotting in adults in Norway which left four people in hospital.

Irish Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said it was a “precautionary step”.

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The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said: “We are aware of the action in Ireland.

“We are closely reviewing reports but, given the large number of doses administered and the frequency at which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause.”

Italy's Piedmont region also declared it stopped using a batch of AstraZeneca vaccine after a teacher died following his vaccination on Saturday.

The region, around the northern city of Turin, had initially suspended all AstraZeneca vaccines in order to identify and isolate the batch from which the jab administered to the teacher, from the town of Biella, came.

The move was precautionary and the region is awaiting the results of checks which will verify whether there is a connection between the death and the vaccination, officials said.

Countries should continue to use the vaccine, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said, adding there was no indication of a link between the jabs and blood clots.

In a statement to RTE, AstraZeneca said an analysis of safety data covering more than 17 million doses of the vaccine administered has shown no evidence of an increased risk of the conditions concerned, and that no trends or patterns were observed in clinical trials.

It added: “In fact, the reported numbers of these types of events for Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca are not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the unvaccinated population.

“A careful review of all available safety data, including these events, is ongoing and AstraZeneca is committed to sharing information without delay.”

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has initiated an urgent review of all blood clotting events occurring with the vaccine, to determine if there is a possible safety risk.

A statement from Ireland’s Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) said: “To date, the HPRA has received a small number of reports associated with blood clots following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“However, it has not received any reports of the nature of those described by the Norwegian Medicines Agency.

“We will continue to monitor national reports very closely and continue to encourage the reporting of any suspected side-effect following vaccination with a Covid-19 vaccine.”

Several other European countries temporarily suspended AstraZeneca jabs.

The EMA reported one person in Austria was diagnosed with blood clots and died ten days after vaccination, but it stressed there is “currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions”.

Another person was admitted to hospital in Austria with pulmonary embolism (blockage in arteries in the lungs) after being vaccinated, while one death involving a blood clot was reported in Denmark.

Denmark, Norway and Iceland have said they are temporarily halting all AstraZeneca vaccinations to investigate the reports.

Reporting contributed by PA.

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