What do I need to know about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine?

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Sumary of What do I need to know about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine?:

  • Concerns have been mounting over reports of rare but serious blood clots in a small number of recipients of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, leading to a UK recommendation on Wednesday that healthy adults under 30 should have an alternative jab if they can..
  • However the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab has been linked to a small but concerning number of reports of blood clots combined with low platelet counts (platelets are cell fragments in our blood that help it to clot)..
  • But also highly uncommon is the combination of CVST or other rare clots with low platelets, and sometimes unusual antibodies – and that combination is at the centre of current concerns..
  • The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said recipients of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab should look out for new headaches, blurred vision, confusion or seizures that occur four days or more after vaccination..
  • Beverley Hunt, professor of thrombosis and haemostasis at King College London and a representative of Thrombosis UK, said the first step would be to give a dose of intravenous gamma globulin – essentially giving concentrated antibodies which block the effect of the antibodies that could be causing the clotting problems..
  • Up to and including 31 March, the MHRA said it received 79 reports of cases of blood clots combined with low platelets, including 19 deaths, following more than 20m doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab..
  • Two cases of blood clots with a low platelet count have also been reported among recipients of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab..
  • The European Medicines Agency is also examining three cases of venous thromboembolism blood clots involving the Johnson &.
  • The MHRA says blood clots combined with low platelets can occur naturally in unvaccinated people as well as in those who have caught Covid, and that while evidence of a link with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has become stronger, more research is needed..
  • But experts have noticed a similarity to a clotting event sometimes seen among people given the blood-thinning drug heparin, whereby antibodies are generated that result in platelets becoming activated..
  • “In very rare situations heparin can actually cause this platelet activation problem and lead to blood clots in unusual places..
  • According to Hunt, one possibility is that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine may also trigger the production of antibodies that activate platelets, causing them to form clots..
  • However on Wednesday the MHRA acknowledged a possible link between the jab and the clots, adding that careful consideration should be given to those who may be at higher risk of certain types of blood clots..
  • “Although the chance of any person receiving the vaccine experiencing a blood clot with low platelets is extremely small, because the risk of severe Covid in the under-30s with no underlying illness is also small, JCVI feel as a precautionary measure it is appropriate for those in this age group to be offered an alternative Covid vaccine when their turn comes for their first dose of a vaccine,”.
  • Pregnant women should discuss with their doctors whether to have the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab as pregnancy can increase the risk of blood clots, the MHRA said..
  • Combined hormonal contraceptives, which contain oestrogen, have been associated with an increased risk of blood clots including CVST, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism..
  • According to an EMA review in 2014, the risk of blood clots ranged from five to 12 cases per 10,000 women who take combined hormonal contraceptives for a year, compared with two cases each year per 10,000 women who are not using such contraceptives..
  • “The combined oral contraceptive pill is probably the commonest cause of cerebral sinus thrombosis, so it is a very good comparison,”.
  • The faculty for sexual and reproductive health stressed the risk of blood clots from the pill was also low – much smaller than the risk of having a blood clot if they were pregnant..
  • “Anyone who experienced cerebral or other major blood clots occurring with low levels of platelets after their first vaccine dose of Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca should not have their second dose,”…

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