An official with the European Medicines Agency said Tuesday that there is a “clear link” between the AstraZeneca vaccine and deadly blood clots in the brain.
Marco Cavaleri, the chair of the vaccine evaluation team at the EMA, told the Italian newspaper Il Messagero that in his opinion, “we can now say it is clear that there is an association (of the brain blood clots) with the vaccine.” Cavaleri added that while he was sure that there was a “clear link” with the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, it is still not yet known what the actual cause of the deadly brain clots is.
The EMA is currently investigating 44 reports of the brain clotting that have occurred in the European Economic Area of people who have received the vaccine. The British government’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency also reported a further 44 cases of the blood clots, with 7 of those having died as a result by the last figures from the 24 of March. Reuters reported that a high proportion of the affected cases were of young and middle-aged women, but the EMA has not yet concluded if they are particularly at risk from the shot.
Known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), the clots are accompanied by low levels of platelets and “rare antibodies” in the blood linked to other clotting disorders. “This raises the possibility that the vaccine could be a causal factor in these rare and unusual cases of CVST, though we don’t know this yet, so more research is urgently needed,” said Professor David Werring, from the UCL Institute of Neurology last week.
The agency is expected to publish its review of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday or Thursday, with Cavaleri confirming to the newspaper that the review would note that there is a link between the blood clots and the vaccine. However, the review was “not likely to give an indication… regarding the ages of individuals to whom the AstraZeneca shot should be given.”
A number of European countries have began placing restrictions on giving the AstraZeneca vaccines to individuals of a certain age, usually below 60, including France, Germany, and the Netherlands. The UK has also paused an ongoing trial of the AstraZeneca vaccine on children while the MHRA investigates the blood clots.
“Whilst there are no safety concerns in the paediatric clinical trial, we await additional information from the MHRA on its review of rare cases of thrombosis/thrombocytopaenia that have been reported in adults, before giving any further vaccinations in the trial,” a spokesman from the University of Oxford, who developed the vaccine in conjunction with AstraZeneca, said Tuesday.
National File reported last year that “pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and AstraZeneca – both involved in the development of coronavirus vaccines – employed a total 123” people loyal to the Chinese Communist Party,