AstraZeneca: MHRA lists possible symptoms of blood clots

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The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reported a total of 209 clots with low platelet counts following vaccination with AstraZeneca’s shot on Thursday. This is up from a total of 168 reported the previous week. Despite the increase, the regulatory body insists the benefits of receiving the vaccine far outweigh the possible risks of a blood clot event.

Nonetheless, Public Health England (PHE) has listed the warning signs of a blood clot and how to respond.

PHE says the following may signal a blood clot has formed:

  • A new, severe headache which is not helped by usual painkillers or is getting worse
  • A headache which seems worse when lying down or bending over

An unusual headache that may be accompanied by:

  • Blurred vision, nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty with your speech
  • Weakness, drowsiness or seizures
  • New, unexplained pinprick bruising or bleeding
  • Shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain.

If you experience any of the above symptoms from around four days to four weeks after vaccination you should seek medical advice urgently, advises the health body.

How common are AstraZeneca-linked blood clots?

“Although this condition remains extremely rare there appears to be a higher risk in people shortly after the first dose of the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine,” explains PHE.

The health body continues: “Around four people develop this condition for every million doses of AZ vaccine doses given.

“This is seen slightly more often in younger people and tends to occur between four days and two weeks following vaccination.”

As it rightly points out, this condition can also occur naturally, and clotting problems are a common complication of COVID-19 infection.

“An increased risk has not yet been seen after other COVID-19 vaccines but is being carefully monitored.”

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You should still get the vaccine if you are a healthy person over 30 to 50 years of age.

The MHRA and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that all adults in this age group (including health and social care workers) should still receive any of the available COVID-19 vaccines.

The JCVI decides the order in which people will be offered the vaccine.

You can currently get the COVID-19 vaccine if:

  • You’re aged 42 or over
  • You’ll turn 42 before 1 July 2021.

The vaccine will be offered more widely as soon as possible.

If you are not eligible yet, wait to be contacted – the NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the COVID-19 vaccine.

It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.

If you’re eligible, you can book appointments at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy now, or wait to be invited to go to a local NHS service.

How effective are the coronavirus vaccines against COVID-19?

Data suggests the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from COVID-19 from three or four weeks after you’ve had it.

But you need to have the two doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection.

There is a chance you might still get or spread COVID-19 even if you have the vaccine.

Data is still being gathered on the long-term efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines.

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