Australia investigates possible link of blood clot case to vaccine

The government has cleared the Astra Zeneca vaccine following fears it causes blood clots

The UK's medicines watchdog says it has found 30 cases of rare blood clots in people who have had the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.

The provincial government said Thursday that it is lowering the age of those who can book a shot at a pharmacy to 55.

Earlier this month, the European Medicines Agency, which authorized the AstraZeneca vaccine in January, said the vaccine's benefits outweigh any risks.

France already limits use of AstraZeneca to those aged over 55 and on Monday, Canada recommended immediately suspending use of the jab in people aged below 55 following reports in Europe.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), which has also previously declared the AstraZeneca vaccine safe, as has the World Health Organization, is expected to announce updated advice on the issue on April 7. That followed reports of 31 cases of the rare clots, mostly in women.

"With more locations coming on board, these settings will make receiving the COVID-19 vaccine easier and more convenient for eligible populations across the province", Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement.

Cooke said the EMA would include the Germany cases in its review, "and they will form part of the ongoing evaluation that the committee is undertaking, as will any additional cases that are reported from other countries and regions".

The agency said a causal link between unusual blood clots in people who have had the vaccine is "not proven, but is possible", adding that the benefits of the vaccine in preventing Covid-19 outweighed the risks of side effects.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group said there would be no change to the clinical guidance on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a result of the EMA's findings.

Based on the numbers reported to the agency so far, there have been 4.8 cases of the rare blood clots per million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered, she said.

Professor Kidd said he wanted to reassure Australians the risk of contracting COVID-19 was "far greater" than contracting the "very small potential risk" of a rare blood clotting disorder as a side effect.

Meanwhile, Australia is investigating whether a blood clotting case recorded yesterday is related to the AstraZeneca vaccine, a health official said, raising concern in a nation where most people are expected to receive the drugmaker's shot.

More people in Ontario will soon be able to book a shot to get a COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy. Canada recently received a shipment of 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the United States as part of a "vaccine loan" agreement.



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