One in a million chance of death following AstraZeneca jab: TGA

Matt Woodley

23/09/2021 5:48:47 PM

By contrast, Australians aged 60 and over – for whom AstraZeneca is preferred – have a nearly one in 10 chance of dying from COVID.

Needle in AstraZeneca vial
The new confirmed and probable cases of TTS linked to AstraZeneca bring the overall total to 141. (Image: AAP)

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has confirmed that an additional seven reports of blood clots and low blood platelets have been linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine in the past week.
None of these cases were fatal.
The new cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopaenia syndrome (TTS) bring Australia’s overall total to 141 (77 confirmed, 64 probable), which have most often occurred about two weeks after vaccination.
According to the TGA, the estimated risk of dying from TTS after vaccination with AstraZeneca in Australia is approximately one person for every million people who receive a first dose.
This estimate is determined using the number of cases in relation to total first doses administered to 19 August in order to allow for the time to onset of TTS.
Meanwhile, at the time of publication (Thursday 23 September) there had been 1111 deaths out of the 11,485 COVID cases that have occurred in Australians aged 60 and older (9.6 per 100).
To date, 13 cases of TTS have occurred in Australia after the second AstraZeneca dose (11 probable, two confirmed). Only two of those cases were classified as Tier 1, which involve clots in an unusual location, such as the brain or abdomen, and tend to have more serious outcomes.
‘The information available to us indicates that only one of these patients required treatment in the intensive care unit, and nine individuals have been discharged from hospital,’ the TGA states in its latest report.
Australian data indicates that patients with TTS aged under 50 are more likely to be classified as Tier 1 and/or require treatment in intensive care. However, more than one third of these younger patients have not required treatment in intensive care.
Twelve Australians with TTS remain in hospital, none of whom are currently in intensive care. Meanwhile, 302 out of 1518 currently hospitalised COVID patients are in ICU.
People should seek immediate medical attention if they develop any of the following symptoms after vaccination:

  • Severe or persistent headache, blurred vision, confusion or seizures
  • Shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain
  • Unusual skin bruising and/or pinpoint round spots beyond the site of vaccination
The most common time period for onset of TTS symptoms is 4–30 days after vaccination.
According to AusVaxSafety, a government-funded national vaccine safety system, 56% of more than 500,000 AstraZeneca recipients self-reported at least one adverse event – generally mild and short-lived – following their first. This figure drops to 25% for second doses.
Of the more than 1.6 million Pfizer recipients to participate in the survey to date, 37% reported an adverse reaction after the first dose, and 56% after the second dose. As with AstraZeneca, these were also typically mild and short-lived, involving symptoms like pain or swelling around the injection site, fatigue, headache, and muscle or joint pain.
No deaths have been linked to the Pfizer vaccine in Australia, but it has been associated with cases of myocarditis and pericarditis, and international data indicate that cases are more frequently reported in teenage boys after the second dose.
As of 19 September, the TGA had received eight reports of suspected myocarditis in adolescents aged 15–17 years, seven boys and one girl.
Four of the cases occurred after the second dose, and none had sufficient clinical evidence to be classified as highly likely to be myocarditis (level 1). 
There was an additional 12 reports of suspected pericarditis not combined with myocarditis in this age group, five of which were clinically consistent with pericarditis.
Approximately 24.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered from the beginning of the vaccine rollout to 19 September 2021.
Log in below to join the conversation.

AstraZeneca COVID-19 Pfizer TGA vaccine rollout

newsGP weekly poll Which public health issue will most significantly impact general practice in Australia in the next 10–20 years?

newsGP weekly poll Which public health issue will most significantly impact general practice in Australia in the next 10–20 years?



Login to comment

Dr Diane Elizabeth Faulkner-Hill   24/09/2021 8:44:24 PM

Good to have some concrete data for people who are hesitant to have Astra Zeneca vaccine. I am in WA where a lot of people are not anti-vaccine, but 'waiting' and can be moved towards action by clear reassurance.