The death of an Australian woman is believed to be connected to her getting AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, authorities said Friday.
The 48-year-old woman was admitted to a hospital with an extensive thromboembolic event, or blood clotting, and thrombocytopenia, or low blood platelet levels, four days after receiving the shot on April 8, according to Australia’s Vaccine Safety Investigation Group (VSIG). The woman died in the hospital.
The group of investigators has concluded that the case “is likely linked to the vaccination.”
The group is a panel of independent experts who advise the Therapeutic Goods Administration. It includes experts in vaccine safety, infectious disease immunology, and other fields.
Panel members found the review of the case complicated by the woman’s underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, but ultimately agreed that the case was consistent with causal association to immunization.
An atypical characteristic when compared to other similar events in patients who got AstraZeneca’s jab is that the woman did not have antii-PF5 antibodies, which activate platelets.
“Despite the atypical clinical features and the negative antibody test, in the absence of an alternative cause for the clinical syndrome, VSIG believed that a causative link to vaccination should be assumed at this time,” the group said in a statement.
An AstraZeneca spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email: “The safety of all patients is paramount and we are working with regulators to understand the individual cases, epidemiology and possible mechanisms that could explain these extremely rare events. Regulators in the EU and UK as well as the WHO have reaffirmed the vaccine offers a high-level of protection against all severities of COVID-19 and that these benefits continue to far outweigh the risks.”
The laboratory test results from the patient who died are still pending and an autopsy will be conducted next week. Should either provide an alternative explanation for the death, the vaccine investigation group will review their decision.
Two other patients in Australia have also experienced blood clotting after receiving an AstraZeneca immunization. They are being treated in hospitals and are “recovering well,” authorities said.
Since some 885,000 doses of the UK-based company’s jab have been administered in Australia, officials estimate a frequency of clotting of 1 in 295,000.
The UK’s regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, concluded in its review of clotting cases in Britain that the risk of the clots post-vaccination is approximately 1 in 250,000.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration is continuing to review all reports of in-country post-vaccination clots.
“The overall number of reports received for blood clots following vaccination so far has been no higher than the expected background rate for the more common type of blood clots in Australia. These can occur in around 50 Australians every day separate to vaccination and are not related to the very rare [blood] clotting disorder,” authorities said.
People who get an AstraZeneca jab should be aware that side effects like fever, fatigue, and headache are expected and not of concern, unless they are severe or persistent.
The rare blood clots have occurred between days 4 and 20 post-vaccination and generally require hospitalization because of the symptom severity.
People should immediately seek medical attention if they get a shot and experience a few days later a severe or persistent headache or blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest or abdominal pain, or unusual skin bruising.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a press conference that federal and state authorities are still probing the death.
“I think there’s a lot more to understand and learn about that issue, and I would caution others in making conclusions on this at that point as well,” he said.
Post-vaccination clots in AstraZeneca patients triggered a review by the European Union’s medical regulator earlier this month. The European Medicines Agency concluded that the vaccine was possibly linked to the clots but advised continued use of the jab, asserting its benefits outweighed the risks, though it advised AstraZeneca to mention rare blood clots as a possible side effect.