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24 Mar, 2021 09:29

Ukrainian soldier DIES after receiving Indian-made AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab, as army warns against drawing ‘premature conclusions’

Ukrainian soldier DIES after receiving Indian-made AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab, as army warns against drawing ‘premature conclusions’

Military medics in Ukraine have announced the death of a servicewoman who reportedly received a dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine, which has been the subject of a fierce row over claims it may be linked to blood clots.

In a statement released on Tuesday night, the country’s armed forces medical command issued a statement on Facebook claiming that an off-duty officer serving in a military unit in Odessa, in the south of the country, had received emergency care after losing consciousness.

“Military and civilian doctors carried out resuscitation measures at the scene,” it stated, “but this was unfortunately unsuccessful.” According to the statement, the soldier – named by local media on Wednesday as Inna Narozhnaya – had been serving in an anti-aircraft missile regiment on the Black Sea coast.

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“In line with all protocols,” the military doctors said, “the soldier received vaccination against Covid-19 by a mobile health team from the Odessa Health Department.” According to local health service chiefs, the woman had no health complaints other than a history of hypertension. An autopsy will now take place, and the army officials warned public officials and the media “not to make premature conclusions about the circumstances of the soldier’s death.”

Reuters reported that this marks the first apparent inoculation-related death since Ukraine began its nationwide immunization campaign, having received 500,000 doses of Covishield, an Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The Eastern European nation is currently battling a steep rise in the number of coronavirus cases, with its daily count of positive tests reaching 11,476 on Tuesday. However, the real number of infections is likely to be far higher. Over the same period, 333 people were reported to have died from Covid-19.

A number of EU member states suspended vaccination with AstraZeneca’s formula earlier this month over fears of a link to blood clots. Germany, France, Italy, and Spain have halted immunizations using the British company’s vials over these safety concerns. However, some experts have said the company’s data demonstrates there is no significant risk of adverse events, with the number of blood clots reported among those who had received the vaccine being lower than among the control group who had not.

Last week, Brussels’ medical regulator, the European Medicines Agency, stated after a review that “the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of blood clots,” but that it “may be associated with very rare cases of blood clots associated with thrombocytopenia, i.e. low levels of blood platelets.”

However, on balance, the watchdog said that “the benefits of the vaccine in combating the still widespread threat of COVID-19 (which itself results in clotting problems and may be fatal) continue to outweigh the risk of side effects.”

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