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AstraZeneca Admits In Court Docs Covid Vaccine Can Cause RARE Side Effect, But What Does This Mean?

AstraZeneca Admits In Court Docs Covid Vaccine Can Cause RARE Side Effect, But What Does This Mean?

AstraZeneca admitted in a lawsuit that its Covid-19 vaccine can cause a very rare side effect but the causal link is unknown and up to expert evidence.

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AstraZeneca is contesting the claims but has accepted that its Covid vaccine can in “very rare cases” cause Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia (TTS). TTS causes people to have blood clots and low blood platelet count.

AstraZeneca stated in a legal document submitted to the UK High Court that TTS can occur in very rare cases, even in the absence of an AZ vaccine. The company added that the causal link is unknown and “will be a matter for expert evidence.”

After a study of more than 99 million people from Australia, Argentina, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, New Zealand, and Scotland, it’s confirmed how rare known vaccine complications are with researchers confirming that the benefits of Covid-19 vaccines still vastly outweigh the risks.

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine. For illustration purposes

Before anyone panics, here’s what it means. According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in 2021, unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as a very rare side effect of Vaxzevria (formerly AstraZeneca). In other words, it was a known rare side effect then.

EMA reminded healthcare professionals and people receiving the vaccine to remain aware of the possible side effects within two weeks of vaccination.

EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) at the time noted that the blood clots occurred in the veins in the brain (cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, CVST) and the abdomen (splanchnic vein thrombosis), and in arteries, together with low levels of blood platelets.

It’s important to keep things in perspective

Prof Jim Buttery, co-director of the Global Vaccine Data Network, said rare side effects aren’t known until the vaccine has been administered to millions of people because no clinical trial can ever reach the size to answer those questions. This means we can only find out after a vaccine has been introduced.

Buttery added that the health risk such as myocarditis is even higher with natural Covid infection than after vaccination.

Prof Julie Leask, a vaccine expert at the University of Sydney, said it’s important to keep things in perspective. Leask said a Covid infection increases the risk of some rare conditions “much more than a vaccine” does.

She added that studies confirmed that vaccine experts are paying attention to the side effects of vaccines and are acting on it.

Being confident in a system that will detect problems and address them, is a very important part of a robust vaccination program.

Prof Julie Leask, a vaccine expert at the University of Sydney
People waiting for AstraZeneca vaccine jabs. Image: Malay Mail.

What about in Malaysia?

According to Astro Awani, AstraZeneca Sdn Bhd successfully struck out a lawsuit filed by 12 individuals who claimed the vaccine caused adverse effects, including death, last year.

A group filed the suit in 2022 against the government, the Health Ministry, and former Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who led the national vaccination programme.

The former Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Pfizer Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Pharmaniaga Lifescience Sdn Bhd, and AstraZeneca were also named the defendants.

It’s ok to push back against vaccines with scientific evidence

Pushing back against the Covid-19 vaccine with scientific evidence doesn’t mean being an anti-vaxxer.

The lawsuit against AstraZeneca did not validate any anti-vaxxer’s claims that were made based on conspiracy theories, misinformation, or a general distrust of vaccines.

While Covid-19 vaccines weren’t perfect, experts said that the available vaccines at the time helped lessen the severity of a Covid-19 infection.

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