Health Minister plays down vaccine blood clot fears

Thursday, 22 April 2021 01:09 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Health Minister says 3 died but overall only tiny fragment of immunised affected

Six persons who received the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine have suffered from blood clots to-date, Health Minister Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi yesterday revealed, but stressed the probability of this occurring is “very low”.

In response to a question raised by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa at Parliament yesterday, Wanniarachchi stated that three of them passed away.

A total of 925,242 persons have received the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine in Sri Lanka to-date and blood clots have been reported from only 0.00064% of vaccinated persons.

“The global situation shows that, in comparison to the number of conditions that can occur due to COVID-19, the probability of blood clots is very low. The World Health Organization has also recommended the further use of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” Wanniarachchi stressed.

She added that the World Health Organization is yet to identify a direct link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, which have been reported from four to six persons per million vaccinated.

“Not only the AstraZeneca vaccine, it is a known fact that any vaccine can have complications. Within a few weeks of receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, blood clots in patients were reported from some countries,” the Health Minister went on to say.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) in a statement issued on 7 April confirmed that the overall benefit-risk remains positive for the vaccine but stated: “EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) has concluded today that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of Vaxzevria (formerly COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca).”

According to EMA, very rare cases of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets were seen within two weeks of vaccination and the majority of cases were reported from women under the age of 60.