EU agency: Rare clots possibly linked to AstraZeneca shot

The European Union’s drug agency says it has found a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and a rare clotting disorder but recommends that vaccinations continue in adults, saying the benefits of the shot still outweigh risks.

The European Medicines Agency describes the clots as “very rare” side effects. It says most of the cases reported have occurred in women under 60 within two weeks of vaccination — but based on the currently available evidence, it has not been able to identify specific risk factors. Experts reviewed several dozen cases that came mainly from Europe and the United Kingdom, where around 25 million people have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

A medical worker receives a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 15, 2021. (Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP)

“The reported cases of unusual blood clotting following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine should be listed as possible side effects of the vaccine,” says Emer Cooke, the agency’s executive director.

But “the risk of mortality from COVID is much greater than the risk of mortality from these side effects,” Cooke says.

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