Australia working with EU, UK on AstraZeneca blood clot case

Saturday, 03 Apr, 2021

Australian health officials will continue to administer AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccinations after a Melbourne man who had received the jab fell ill with a rare blood clotting condition.

The Netherlands was the lastest European countries to stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine to vaccinate people under the age of 60, amid fears of a link between it and the incidence of rare blood clots.

"The risk of having this specific type of blood clot is very small", the agency noted.

An AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at the local vaccination centre as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Hagen, Germany, on March 19, 2021. In total, some 400,000 people were given the AstraZeneca vaccine during the period the problems were reported.

On Thursday, Germany's immunisation commission, the STIKO, recommended that anyone younger than 60 who received an initial vaccination with AstraZeneca be given either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots as their second vaccine doses. Nearly all the cases are reportedly in younger and middle-aged women.

The complaint was filed "against X" - not targeting any individual or entity at this stage - a practice allowed in France when the circumstances of a case are still unclear, with the aim of "obtaining an investigation", the family's lawyer Etienne Boittin told French news agency AFP on Friday.

It previously declared the AstraZeneca vaccine safe, just as the World Health Organization did.

She said the EMA's experts so far had not determined any underlying risk factors for the blood clots or established a causal relationship with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Speaking to Reuters, the government's chief medical adviser said U.S. authorities had secured enough coronavirus inoculations to immunise the entire population and possibly administer booster shots in the autumn.

More was expected to be known on Saturday, he added.

On Friday, Australia reported one case of clotting disorders following inoculation with the AstraZeneca vaccine and is investigating, according to a joint statement by government agencies.

But any vaccine recipient who experiences "severe, persistent" headaches that can't be helped with over-the-counter painkillers and that occur four to 20 days after the vaccination should seek medical treatment, he said.