The death of a woman who developed blood clots just days after getting the AstraZeneca vaccine is ‘likely’ linked to the shot, health authorities said.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Vaccine Safety Investigation Group met late Friday after Daily Mail Australia revealed Thursday that the woman died after receiving the Covid shot.
The woman was given the vaccine on April 9, had blood clots the next day, was on dialysis in an intensive care unit, and died on April 14.
The woman is the third reported case of people developing blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia.
The other two cases have been treated in hospital and are recovering.
The woman received the shot before health authorities declared the Pfizer vaccine the preferred option for patients under 50.
The death of a 48-year-old woman who developed blood clots days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine was ‘likely linked’ to the shot (stock image)
Authorities said assessing the woman’s case was complicated by her underlying health problems, including diabetes.
Experts from the Vaccine Safety Investigation Group said that despite the absence of antibodies in the woman’s blood found in other cases of coagulation related to the vaccine, a causal relationship must be assumed.
They also noted that some lab tests were still pending and an autopsy will be performed next week.
“Since this is an atypical presentation, if the test results and / or the autopsy provided an alternative cause, VSIG would reconsider their decision,” the TGA said Friday.
The same group previously advised in April that people under 50 should not be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shot due to the risk of blood clots.
Since its launch, 885,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine have been given to Australians.
The three cases of blood clots give a rate of one in 295,000 pricks that could potentially lead to these complications, the TGA said.
Symptoms of the rare clotting complications include severe headache, blurred vision, pain or bruising away from the injection site, leg swelling, and shortness of breath.
The woman, from the Central Coast, was given the vaccine last Friday, developed severe blood clots, and was on dialysis the following day (file image)
Health authorities recommend that anyone experiencing any of these symptoms after vaccination should seek medical attention.
The effects are different from the more common side effects such as fatigue, sore muscles or fever that disappear on the third day after vaccination.
Sanitarium Health Food Company, located on the New South Wales Central Coast, confirmed that the woman was one of 800 employees.
“The company is saddened by the loss of a much-loved employee, and we offer our sincere condolences to its family, friends and colleagues,” a spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.
The 48-year-old woman’s death follows Denmark’s statement that they will all stop the AstraZeneca vaccine, while alternative vaccines are already being offered among 30-year-olds in the UK.
Scott Morrison (pictured with the AstraZeneca vaccine) promised that the entire adult population would be immunized by October, but the rollout has since been derailed by the link of the shot with blood clots
Denmark was the first country to discontinue use of the AstraZeneca shot in March over concerns about blood clots.
Several other countries followed suit, although most, including Germany and France, have resumed use of the vaccine for the elderly.
Denmark has also discontinued the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pending further investigations into a possible link with rare cases of blood clots.
The European Union drug watchdog said last week it had found a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and very rare cases of blood clots.
However, it said the risk of dying from Covid-19 was “much greater” than the risk of dying from rare side effects.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is significantly cheaper than other vaccines and is easier to store because it does not need to be stored at an extremely low temperature.
One of the main risk factors for blood clots is diabetes. Pictured: A nurse from Townsville, Queensland, receives the vaccine last month
Concerns about clots and mixed messages surrounding the vaccine are expected to affect people’s willingness to take it.
Australia Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly pointed out on Friday that Covid-19 patients are much more at risk of developing blood clots than those who receive the vaccine.
A survey of 500,000 Covid-19 patients in the US found that 36 in million developed a potentially deadly blood clot.
In comparison, only four per million people will have a serious blood clot as a result of the AstraZeneca shot.
Mr Morrison promised that the entire adult population would be immunized by October, but the rollout has since been derailed by the blood clot link of the shot.
Twenty million doses of Pfizer are on the way, but there will be no more help for younger Australians until October.
The prime minister said he “would like” all Australians to get at least their first dose by the end of the year, but made no guarantees.
In a desperate bid to get the stalled program back on track, he plans to create massive hubs to ramp up vaccinations.
Vaccine rollout in Australia has slowed following reports of people developing blood clots from the AstraZeneca shot (stock image)