The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was further hammered on Wednesday after the European Union’s medicines regulator discovered a potential correlation between the shot and unusual cases of blood clots, and the United Kingdom revealed it would give young people an alternative vaccine due to the risks.
Following a study of hundreds of reports of an exceedingly unusual clot in the brain known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) among vaccine recipients, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued its much-anticipated decision on Wednesday.
According to the regulator, 169 cases of CVST had been recorded from the 34 million doses of the shot administered in the European Economic Area as of Sunday.
It concluded that irregular blood clots and low blood platelets should be listed as very rare vaccine side effects, but that vaccines should be continued in adults, reiterating its position that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh any risks.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc across Europe, with several areas of the continent now experiencing a deadly third wave of infections and the EU failing to recover from a slow vaccine rollout.
“EMA is reminding healthcare professionals and people receiving the vaccine to remain aware of the possibility of very rare cases of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets occurring within two weeks of vaccination,” the body said in a statement.
“So far, most of the cases reported have occurred in women under 60 years of age within two weeks of vaccination. Based on the currently available evidence, specific risk factors have not been confirmed.”
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has not imposed any new age limits on the use of the vaccine in people aged 18 and up, as some countries have done.