No evidence that recent blood clot deaths were linked to COVID vaccine

Matt Woodley

29/04/2021 5:38:37 PM

The TGA has confirmed there is ‘no likely association’ between the deaths of two NSW men and the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Box full of AstraZeneca vaccine doses
The AstraZeneca vaccine has been linked to blood clots in a very small number of cases. (Image: AAP)

Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) head Professor John Skerritt has called for calm in relation to recent reports of two men who died from blood clots after they had received the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine.
Professor Skerritt said the current evidence ‘doesn’t suggest a likely association’ between the deaths and the vaccine, and pointed out that blood clots are ‘one of the more significant causes’ of death in Australia.
While it is believed both men received the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been linked to blood clots in a very small number of cases, he said both patients had a history of ‘various clotting disorders’.
‘We do have to remember that, sadly, every week in Australia, 3000 people die of all sorts of causes,’ he said.
‘We also have to remember that in reporting cases of people presenting in hospitals with clots or to their GP, 50 Australians each day report to hospitals with serious blood clots.’
Around 11,000 adverse post-vaccination ‘events’  have been reported to the TGA since the COVID vaccine rollout began, ranging from people experiencing sore arms, to suffering heart attacks. Despite this, Professor Skerritt said the regulator has not seen a ‘flood’ of serious cases and reminded people to not jump to conclusions about the vaccine.
‘[Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome] is a very rare and specific syndrome,’ he said.
‘For the more serious events, we certainly look at every case in detail, we discuss that with our global counterparts, and we also look to see most importantly whether there is any evidence of cause-and-effect.
‘The benefits dramatically exceed the risks, so knowing there is a small background risk of clots is something not to hide.’
More than two million COVID vaccines have been administered in Australia to date – the majority of which have been AstraZeneca – but so far only six vaccine-linked blood clot cases have been reported.
Recent research has also indicated that blood clots are far more common in people infected with COVID-19, and that benefits of vaccination still far outweigh the risks of potentially contracting the disease.
However, the high level of attention the COVID vaccine rollout has received in comparison to other Australian vaccination programs has meant the reported cases have generated an increasing amount of vaccine hesitancy in the community.
A drop in bookings and people presenting for the AstraZeneca vaccine has led the Federal Government to fast-track the rollout and open it up to people aged 50 and older, particularly after the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommended people under 50 receive the Pfizer vaccine instead.
Despite the revised strategy and widely-reported cases, ATAGI has not made any changes to the risk-profile associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
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Dr Dennis William Sundin   30/04/2021 7:54:09 AM

One patient this week 71 year old male who 6 days post covid Astra zeneca vaccine who has developed Left leg DVT with positive ultrasound and tests and difficulty reporting to TGA and not sure we know the full details of side effects

Dr Ikechukwu Chinomnso Onwuegbuna   30/04/2021 8:08:49 AM

Why we always playing catch up with Covid? We know to avoid astra in below 50s, commonsense dictates we should not give them in anyone with any history of clots, or at least back it up with anti clotting medication, even higher dose aspirin. Perhaps Covid is showing us its own cure. Add to the treatment anti clotting management.