The AstraZeneca Covid vaccine has been instrumental to the speed and scale of the UK’s vaccine rollout. Despite aiding the unlocking of lockdown restrictions, the vaccine has courted controversy due to reports of a rare complication developing in people who have received the vaccine. Unusual blood clots with low blood platelets have been recognised as a very rare complication of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
However, based on the current guidance, each patient could have been classified as a low likelihood for this syndrome when they presented to doctors.
Fortunately, due to the increased awareness and clinical vigilance from the medical teams involved, all were sent for testing early, diagnosed and treated successfully.
“The risk of developing a blood clot from the vaccine is still far lower than the risk of developing clots from Covid-19, but it is imperative that clinicians are vigilant in detecting symptoms among vaccinated patients,” said Dr Michelle Lavin, the lead author of the paper and researcher at the Irish Centre for Vascular Biology and the RCSI School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Science.
“Our research has shown that current guidelines lack the sensitivity to detect early cases of vaccine-induced clotting, which could risk missing or delaying diagnoses. As our understanding of this novel condition evolves, heightening our clinical awareness can improve outcomes for patients through early testing and treatment.”
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AstraZeneca blood clot link – what we know so far
Recently there have been reports of an extremely rare but serious condition involving blood clots and unusual bleeding after AstraZeneca vaccination.
Some people with this condition have suffered life changing effects and some have died.
These cases are being carefully reviewed but the risk factors for this condition are not yet clear.
“Although this condition remains extremely rare there is a higher risk in people after the first dose of the AZ [AstraZeneca] vaccine,” reports Public Health England (PHE).
Nonetheless, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that it is preferable for people under 30 to have a vaccine other than the AstraZeneca vaccine because the risk from COVID-19 infection is so low.
“If you are offered the AstraZeneca vaccination you may wish to go ahead after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you,” says PHE.
As the health body explains, if you have already had a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine without suffering this rare side effect you should complete the course.
“This includes people aged 18 to 39 years who are health and social care workers, unpaid carers and family members of those who are immunosuppressed.”