European health chiefs on Wednesday said that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine and that the vaccine's overall benefit-risk remains positive.
The European Medicines Agency said that it reached the conclusion after taking into consideration the available evidence, including the advice from an ad hoc group.
The agency added it was 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.
“So far, most of the cases reported have occurred in women under 60 years of age within two weeks of vaccination,” it said.
It added that the agency’s safety committee had carried out an in-depth review of 86 cases as of 22 March 2021, 18 of which were fatal.
It stated that immune response could be a plausible explanation for blood clots and low blood platelets.
Meanwhile, Britain said that people under the age of 30 should choose alternatives to the vaccine, after reporting 19 deaths from clots among people who had received the shot.
“We are not advising a stop to any vaccination for any individual in any age group,” said Wei Shen Lim, who chairs Britain’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
“We are advising a preference for one vaccine over another vaccine for a particular age group, really out of the utmost caution rather than because we have any serious safety concerns.”
Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands are among several countries that are not recommending the shot for younger people.