Seven deaths in United Kingdom among AstraZeneca vaccine recipients after blood clots

People wait to receive a dose of the AstraZeneca  Oxford vaccine at the SSE Arena which has been converted into a temporary COVID-19 vaccination center in Belfast Northern Ireland

The clotting events that have drawn the most concern, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, entail clots in the veins that drain blood from the brain, a condition that can lead to a rare type of stroke.

British regulators said they have identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine but stressed the benefits of the jab in preventing coronavirus outweigh any risks.

Australia's health authorities are examining a probable case of the same clotting disorder in a 44-year-old man who received the AstraZeneca vaccine around March 22.

The Netherlands was the lastest European countries to stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine to vaccinate people under the age of 60, amid fears of a link between it and the incidence of rare blood clots. The EMA is expected to announce updated advice on the issue on April 7.

It said it wasn't clear if the shots are causing the clots, and that its "rigorous review into the United Kingdom reports of rare and specific types of blood clots is ongoing".

Australian regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has said previously the AstraZeneca vaccine was not tied to an increase in overall risk of blood clots, however. Speaking to Reuters, the government's chief medical adviser said USA authorities had secured enough coronavirus inoculations to immunise the entire population and possibly administer booster shots in the autumn.

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This view is echoed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has urged countries to continue using the jab.

Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol, said: "The report states that these cases are being very carefully investigated to better understand whether or not they may have any causal relationship with vaccination".

Responding to the data, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said that taking up the vaccine was "by far the safest choice" at minimising risk of serious illness or death.

It said there were no reports of any blood-clotting events around the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which has also been widely rolled out in the UK. Germany took a similar decision earlier in the week.

AstraZeneca said last month following U.S. efficiency trials that its vaccine is 79 percent effective at preventing the disease and does not increase the risk of blood clots.

Britain's medicines regulator said that it had received reports of no such clotting cases in people who had received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

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