Doctors are now being told to look out for signs of the most common type of stroke following the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, after three British patients were admitted to hospital and one died.
Two women in their 30s and a man in his 40s suffered ischaemic strokes after having the vaccine.
Previous reports of rare blood clots from the jab have specifically involved cerebral venous thrombosis – a rare form of stroke caused by the blockage of specific veins.
But this is the first time AstraZeneca‘s vaccine has been linked to ischaemic strokes – the most common type and occurs when clots form in major arteries, blocking the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
Doctors are being told to look out for signs of a stroke following the Oxford jab after three patients were admitted to hospital and one died (pictured: a care worker receives the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in Borehamwood on February 15)
ALL over-30s can book their Covid vaccine from TODAY in major boost to hopes that Britain will be unlocked on June 21
Everyone over the age of 30 can now book a Covid jab as the vaccine rollout races ahead.
A million people in England aged 30 and 31 will get a text message soon asking them to be inoculated.
Nearly three quarters of all adults in the UK – 38million – have now received their first dose of the vaccine and almost half – 23.2 million – have had both doses.
With early data suggesting that existing jabs are effective against the Indian variant, the pace of the vaccine rollout will raise hopes that Britain can be fully unlocked on June 21.
Yesterday Health Secretary Matt Hancock praised the ‘phenomenal pace’ of the vaccination programme.
The Government is well on track to meet its target of giving all adults their first dose by the end of July, with vaccines likely to be offered to people in their twenties later this week.
Specialists from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at University College London (UCL) said vaccine-linked incidences were incredibly rare and far more likely to happen in people who catch Covid.
Nevertheless, they urged doctors to be on the lookout for classic stroke symptoms — such as face, arm or leg weakness, or impaired speech — in anyone who had the jab between four and 28 days later.
Any such patients should be ‘urgently evaluated’ for a very rare syndrome called vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (VITT), they said, adding that rapid diagnosis is essential.
The first of the three patients to suffer an ischaemic stroke – a 35-year-old Asian woman who later died – experienced an intermittent headache on the right side and around her eyes six days after having her vaccine.
Five days later, she awoke feeling drowsy and with weakness to her face, arm and leg.
She underwent brain surgery to reduce pressure in her skull alongside other treatments, but these could not save her life.
The second patient, a white woman aged 37, suffered headache, confusion, weakness in her left arm and loss of vision on the left side 12 days after her vaccine. She had several treatments and survived.
The third patient, an Asian man aged 43, was admitted to hospital three weeks after receiving his vaccination with problems speaking and understanding language.
He received a platelet and plasma transfusion plus other treatment and remains stable.
David Werring, professor of clinical neurology at UCL and lead author of the report, said: ‘Although cerebral venous thrombosis – an uncommon stroke type in clinical practice – is now recognised as being the most frequent presentation of VITT, our study shows that the much more common ischaemic stroke… may also be a presenting feature of vaccine-induced thrombosis.
‘Of course, both types of thrombosis remain extremely rare, but doctors need to be vigilant if patients present with typical stroke symptoms [such as] face, arm or leg weakness, or impaired speech – due to a blocked artery any time between days four and 28 post vaccination.’
There have been 309 cases of major thrombosis with low platelet count suggesting VITT from more than 30million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered.
It means the chances of a blood clot from VITT after a Covid-19 vaccine is extremely low at about one per 100,000 doses.
There have been 309 cases of major thrombosis with low platelet count suggesting VITT from more than 30million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered (file photo showing medical worker preparing a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine)
Minister: Testing may help us ditch need to quarantine
By Jason Groves, Political Editor for the Daily Mail
Fully vaccinated people could avoid quarantining if they come into contact with a Covid sufferer by taking regular tests, a minister suggested yesterday.
But MPs were told that, even after two jabs, people will still have to take action.
Earlier reports claimed the fully vaccinated will still have to self-isolate for ten days, or face fines which start at £1,000.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said jabs don’t stop some people catching and spreading the virus, even if they don’t get seriously ill themselves.
Mr Zahawi said no final decision had been made on keeping this rule in place after June 21 when all remaining restrictions are due to be lifted.
He told MPs: ‘Even if you’ve had two doses of either vaccine you can still actually contract Covid and therefore you should be isolating and quarantining. We’re also looking at ways that contacts of people who may have contracted Covid can be regularly tested instead of isolating.’
The suggestion that self-isolation rules could remain in place indefinitely sparked a backlash.
Mark Harper, chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, said: ‘Post-June 21, it’s important not only that legal restrictions go, but all of the remaining rules are adjusted to reflect the much lower risk that exists once we’ve vaccinated the population.’
It comes after MailOnline revealed a growing number of people are suffering from blood clotting disorders after their second dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine.
The UK’s medical regulator found 15 cases in people recently given a top-up dose by May 12, the most recent count, up from six at the start of the month.
So far 9million Britons have been given two doses of AstraZeneca’s jab, meaning the extremely rare clots are occurring in around one in 600,000 people.
Scientists told MailOnline it was ‘disappointing’ the extremely rare complication was becoming more frequent in double-jabbed patients.
The clots — which can occur in the brain — are happening alongside abnormally low platelet levels, known as thrombocytopenia.
But the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said symptoms were ‘milder’ and less frequent than after the first dose.
As of May 12, the MHRA had spotted 294 cases of the clots in Britons given an initial injection, affecting about one in 80,000.
The conditions were found to be occurring more frequently in young people, which has led to the British jab being restricted for use in under-40s.
Scientists believe in some people, the immune system sees the vaccine as a threat and over-produces antibodies to fight it.
These lead to the formation of clumps in the bloodstream, which can become deadly if the clots move towards vital organs and cut off supply.
Around 15million people are still waiting on their second AstraZeneca vaccine, with millions of eligible under-40s yet to be fully inoculated.
The current guidance says younger people who had their first dose before the jab was restricted should come forward for their second.
Department of Health bosses do not provide data on vaccine take-up by age, making it impossible to say how many younger adults are booked in for their top-up.
It also comes after it was revealed that a 39-year-old British woman died in a Cypriot hospital after a blood clotting incident after receiving the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.
Charalambos Charilaou, the spokesperson for the state health services, said the European Medicines Agency (EMA) would investigate the death.
The woman, treated at Nicosia General Hospital’s intensive care unit, received the first dose of the vaccine on May 6 in the resort town of Paphos on the western coast of the Mediterranean island.
The woman, who was not named, suffered symptoms days later and died over the weekend.
HOW IS AN ISCHAEMIC STROKE DIFFERENT TO CEREBRAL VENOUS SINUS THROMBOSIS (CVST)?
What is ischaemic stroke?
Ischaemic strokes occur when there is a blockage in an artery that prevents blood and oxygen from reaching part of the brain.
If circulation isn’t restored quickly, it can lead to permanent brain damage or death.
They account for around 80 per cent of strokes, with the other 20 per cent made up by haemorrhagic strokes — caused by bleeding in the brain — and transient ischaemic attacks or TIAs — mini strokes.
Stroke symptoms include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
- Difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
Of the roughly three out of four people who survive a stroke, many will have life-long disabilities.
This includes difficulty walking, communicating, eating, and completing everyday tasks or chores.
What is cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST)?
Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) is an extremely rare type of blood clot. It may also be abbreviated to CSVT or just CVT.
It occurs when the vein that drains blood from the brain is blocked by a blood clot, resulting in potentially deadly bleeding or a stroke.
Symptoms can quickly deteriorate from a headache, blurred vision and faintness to complete loss of control over movement and seizures.
John Hopkins University estimates it affects five in a million people in the US every year, which would suggest 330 patients in Britain suffer from the condition annually.
According to the university, it can affect patients with low blood pressure, cancer, vascular diseases and those prone to blood clotting. Head injuries can also trigger the condition.