AstraZeneca vaccine, blood clots linked, European health official claims

A top vaccine official at the European Medicines Agency said April 6 that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was linked to blood clots in a small number of recipients, The New York Times reported. 

Marco Cavaleri, head of biological health threats and vaccines strategy at the agency, told the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero that "It is clear there is an association with the vaccine" and blood clots, the Times reported. 

The agency said April 6 that it's still reviewing reported cases of blood clots and would announce its findings this week. It hasn't formally changed the guidance it issued last week saying the benefits of AstraZeneca's vaccine outweigh the risks, according to the Times

Mr. Cavaleri's comments are the first indication from a member of a leading regulatory body that blood clots could be a real but extremely rare side effect of AstraZeneca's vaccine, according to the Times

European regulators are analyzing 44 cases of people developing cerebral venous sinus thrombosis — a blood clot in the veins that drains blood from the brain, which can lead to a rare type of stroke — after receiving an AstraZeneca vaccine. Fourteen of those cases were fatal.

In Britain, regulators reported 30 cases last week of rare blood clots combined with low platelets — which can lead to heavy bleeding — among 18 million people given the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to the Times

Mr. Cavaleri told the Italian newspaper that regulators haven't figured out why the vaccine may be causing the rare blood clots. 

Regulators in Britain and the World Health Organization have said that while they investigate any side effects, the shot is still safe to use and would save many lives, according to the Times

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