Denmark, Iceland, and Norway were among the first to halt use of the Oxford University co-developed COVID-19 vaccine with AstraZeneca on March 11, citing low platelet count and blood clot fears as the reason. Sweden became the latest country to join the trend due to similar fears. It has taken the number of countries who have discontinued the use of the vaccine to over a dozen, many of them in Europe.
A thrombus, commonly referred to as blood clot is a clump of blood that has changed from a liquid to a gel-like or semisolid state. It is clotting that prevents you from losing excess blood following an injury but, a clot inside your veins and doesn’t dissolve on its own can lead to a life-threatening situation.
Clots that move around the body are generally considered more dangerous and when they travel to your heart and lungs, it can get stuck and prevent blood flow, resulting in a medical emergency that can lead to death.
AstraZeneca said on Sunday that there was no evidence of increased risk of blood clots from its vaccine, after a review of safety data of people vaccinated with its vaccine.
“A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and UK with the COVID-19 vaccine of AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country,” the company said.
Dr. Phil Bryan, head of vaccine safety for the British Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said “people should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.”
“We are closely reviewing reports but given the large number of [AstraZeneca] doses administered, and the frequency at which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause,” he said, according to the BBC.
However, the countries that have paused the use of the vaccine in Europe have said there’s no evidence the clots were caused by the AstraZeneca shot — only that they occurred after it was administered.
About 4 million doses of the vaccine arrived Nigeria via COVAX. It has been in use for over 2 weeks now with no news of fatal adverse effects reported among vaccinated people so far. Nevertheless, we wait to see how the government and the health authorities may react to these happenings.
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