Australian health authorities will meet urgently to consider a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a 44-year-old Melbourne man who was hospitalized with blood clots, as seven deaths were reported among vaccine recipients in the UK.
Both Australia’s Main Health Protection Committee and the TGA vaccine safety research group will meet on Saturday to consider the Melbourne man’s case, after Acting Medical Director Professor Michael Kidd said that the authorities were taking the case “very seriously.”
At the same time, state health workers are being instructed to look out for what are considered very rare signs of blood clotting among people who have received the vaccine.
The man received the vaccine on March 22 and days later he presented to Melbourne’s Box Hill Hospital with fever and abdominal pain. He was found to have abdominal clots with a low platelet count.
It showed symptoms similar to those that led some European countries to halt the launch of the vaccine after 31 people who had received the injection were reported to have developed clotting in Europe and the United Kingdom.
Those cases were out of millions of people who had received the vaccine in Europe, and the European Medicines Agency said preliminary data from its review of the cases suggested that the risk of blood clots after the vaccine was potentially one in 100,000. .
In a statement, Australia’s independent vaccine regulator, The Therapeutics Administration, emphasized that “there was no cause-and-effect relationship between vaccination with Covid-19 and this case has been established at this stage.” However, the head of the TGA, John Skerritt, confirmed that he was investigating the case.
“A small number of people, predominantly abroad, have developed bleeding disorders after vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine,” he said.
“A case has been reported in Australia [and] is being investigated by the Therapeutic Products Administration.
“Medical experts from the European Medicines Agency and the UK Health Products Regulatory Agency have not confirmed a causal link to the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, but continue to analyze the available data and clinical circumstances surrounding it in great detail. these reports. “
“Similarly, our expert committees, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI) and the National Vaccine Safety Research Group (VSIG), along with our independent regulator, the TGA are monitoring the situation closely, both in Australia and internationally. “
On Wednesday, German health authorities in Berlin and Munich suspended the launch AstraZeneca vaccine for those under 60 years old due to new concerns about rare blood clotting. It came after the country’s medical regulator announced it had received 31 reports of blood clots in vaccine recipients. Nine of those people died.
A day earlier, Canada made a similar move due to the same concerns, halting the release for people under 55.
On Friday, Kidd acknowledged that the case may cause some anxiety, but said the benefits of the vaccine still far outweigh the “very small potential risk” of developing serious adverse symptoms.
“Right now, the risk of serious illness and death from Covid-19, if we experience another severe outbreak, especially among older Australians and those with serious health conditions, is much greater than the very small potential risk of a heart disease disorder. very rare clotting. associated with the vaccine, ”he said.
“I recognize that people will be anxious and we will give them more information as soon as we have it available.”
The ATAGI on Friday issued a statement intended to help state health workers identify and respond to potential clotting cases.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism