Friday, July 23, 2021

Spain probes patient death after AstraZeneca jab

Spain health minister stresses that the country has so far recorded just three cases of thrombosis out of the 975,661 people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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Three cases of people who suffered from thrombosis after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, one of whom died, are under investigation, Spanish health officials said Wednesday.

The announcement by Madrid’s AEMPS medicines agency came two days after the government suspended use of the vaccine for at least a fortnight as a precaution.

The three cases happened between late Monday and early Tuesday.

“It could be related to the vaccine or not,” Health Minister Carolina Darias told a news conference.

“What we know so far is that in these three cases there is a temporal link but it has not been established that there is a causal link.”

While she said she “understood the concerns”, the minister stressed Spain has so far recorded just three cases of thrombosis out of the 975,661 people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Press reports said the person who died was a 43-year-old maths teacher in the southern city of Marbella with no pre-existing health conditions.

She suffered a cerebral haemorrhage and had complained of headaches after having the jab, but doctors attributed it to the normal side effects associated with the vaccine, Diario Sur newspaper reported.

Monday’s decision to suspend all AstraZeneca shots came just hours after Germany, France and Italy announced similar moves linked to fears the vaccine could generate serious side effects such as blood clots which can cause swellings, heart attacks and haemorrhages.

In a statement, the AEMPS said the three cases might be linked to the “formation of blood clots in areas of the body where they are less common” without drawing firm conclusions.

Investigators were “gathering more information and carrying out an exhaustive investigation”.

Spain, which is also administering the Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna vaccines, has so far recorded more than 72,500 coronavirus deaths from more than 3.2 million cases.

World Health Organization experts on Wednesday recommended countries continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine.

That echoed a similar statement from the European Medicines Agency saying there was no link with clots.

The EMA is holding an extraordinary meeting Thursday to finalise conclusions on the blood clot issue and “make any necessary recommendations for further action”.

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