Four people have died in Spain from thrombotic events after the inoculation of the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to data from the Ministry of Health. Since the vaccination campaign began, Health has administered nearly five million doses of the drug of the Anglo-Swedish company, and of them it has only confirmed 20 cases of vaccine-induced thrombocytopenia syndrome, of which four have been fatal. The department headed by Carolina Darias is also investigating a fifth death, as explained, but it is still under study. Another 14 have suffered thrombi of varying severity, although they have survived.
These cases are not new. Among the deceased that are part of this statistic is, for example, that of the 35-year-old military man who died on April 23 from thrombosis days after being immunized. The first cases related to the administration of the vaccine were reported on March 15, when the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, announced that vaccination with AstraZeneca was being suspended due to the effects of venous thrombosis detected in some European countries, including Spain. That same day, Darias publicly announced the first death and, later, little by little new cases have emerged, although in an extremely rare proportion compared to the number of doses inoculated.
The data is known the same week that in Spain the vaccination campaign has been restarted with the two million citizens under 60 years of age who still had the second pending dose of AstraZeneca. After weeks of debate, the Interterritorial Health Council decided recommend the Pfizer vaccine as a second dose and voluntarily leave AstraZeneca who will reject it.
Non-compliance of the communities
The citizen response has ignored the recommendation of the Ministry. The vast majority of citizens are choosing to reject Pfizer and repeat with AstraZeneca. 90% of those mentioned in Murcia or 85% of those who have called in Galicia have preferred to complete the regimen with the same drug. Sources from the Ministry of Health are still waiting for official data to acknowledge that their message has not caught on. Behind this citizen reaction, they also see the work of some communities, the majority of the Popular Party, which are expressly citing to immunize with the AstraZeneca vaccine. For this reason, they accuse the autonomous communities of not complying with what was agreed in the Interterritorial and to generate confusion among citizens. They also offer another piece of information to justify the decision to mix vaccines: avoid one death for every million people immunized with AstraZeneca. This is the statistical risk for those under 60 who receive the Covid vaccine from this laboratory.
The third dose, next year
The Ministry also warns that the pattern of mixing vaccines could become the norm next year, when protection needs to be reinforced with a third dose. Health is already considering doing it next year, at least, with the most vulnerable groups, such as the elderly or immunosuppressed people. It will be decided without prior large clinical trials. The combination could be with drugs that are already on the market (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna or Janssen) or with any of the vaccines that are yet to come, such as Novavax or Sanofi, still under study. Or, maybe, even with a Spanish vaccine.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism