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16 Apr, 2021 13:51

Australian medicines regulator reports first blood clot death 'likely' linked to AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine

Australian medicines regulator reports first blood clot death 'likely' linked to AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine

Blood clots in a woman who died after being injected with AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria vaccine were "likely" linked to the Anglo-Swedish jab, the Australian government's drugs regulator has said.

The 48-year-old's death marks Australia's first reported fatality from blood clots linked to the vaccine.

After being vaccinated in New South Wales she was hospitalized with an extensive thromboembolic event and thrombocytopenia (TTS) four days later, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said in a statement on Friday.

The TGA's expert advisory panel, the Vaccine Safety Investigation Group (VSIG), met late on Friday and concluded that the woman's rare blood clotting condition was "likely" linked to her vaccination.

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The TGA said the woman had underlying medical conditions, including diabetes, which "complicated" the review.

However, it said: "In the absence of an alternative cause for the clinical syndrome, VSIG believed that a causative link to vaccination should be assumed at this time."

Australia has reported three cases of TTS linked to the vaccine in total, with the other two people now recovering after receiving hospital treatment.

The woman who died was vaccinated on the morning of April 8, the TGA said, ahead of the government's announcement later that day that Australians under the age of 50 should be given Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine, not AstraZeneca's.

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The move was in response to a review of Vaxzevria by the EU's drugs regulator and echoed similar alterations to the vaccination rollouts in a number of the bloc's member states.

Announcing the results of its review, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said last week that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as "very rare side effects" of the vaccine.

Most cases were in women aged under 60 within two weeks of vaccination, the EMA said, after the inquiry by its safety committee.

Out of 25 million people given the vaccine, some 86 blood clotting cases were reviewed, 18 of which proved fatal.

In response to the review a number of countries slapped minimum age requirements for those receiving the jab, including France, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK, which recommended an alternative vaccine for people under 30.

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