Scientists are conducting investigations to determine whether cases of rare but severe blood clotting are connected to both the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) and Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines. According to the research by the BBC Report
Although the link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clot reactions are yet to be proven, UK experts say evidence is “firming up”. There are already 30 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine on pre-order, although it is not yet available in the UK. However, there may be a need for a more cautious approach with the J&J vaccine, as the rollout in the U.S., European Union and South Africa is currently on hold.
What are These Rare Clots?
The rare clot reaction linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines is known as Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST). This clot happens in a large vein that routes blood from the brain; the CVST clot can block the blood flow, which means reduced oxygen supply and poor functioning of the central nervous system. This can trigger conditions like strokes or other brain damage.
Rare blood clot reactions can also occur in other parts of the body such as the large veins in the abdomen and, in some cases, some arteries that transport blood from the heart to the organs.
Why Do CVST Clots Happen?
There is no definite answer to this question yet, but there are a number of certain and common factors.
In the US, CDC experts discovered nine cases, in women, who all have thrombocytopenia – a condition characterized by abnormally low platelet levels that help blood clot. In all CVST cases under investigation, there has been a common factor – all patients presented low levels of platelets. It was also discovered that the patients have an antibody in their blood that aids the activation of platelets. This antibody causes the clumping together of platelets which leads to clot formation and triggers other parts of the body’s clotting system.
Medical professionals are now looking out for a combination of blood clot reactions and low platelet levels in patients, but there is more that they need to understand about the connection between these clots and the coronavirus vaccines.
What Symptoms Should I Look Out For?
If you have received any of the AstraZeneca or J&J vaccines, seek prompt medical attention if you develop any of the following symptoms within four or more days:
- Blurred vision
- Chest pain
- Persistent pain in the abdominal region
- Shortness of breath
- Leg swelling
- Seizures or weakness in the legs
- Severe, persistent headache
How Rare Are These Clot Reactions?
The MHRA states that 79 cases have been identified, with 19 deaths. This is out of a total of over 20 million AstraZeneca vaccines that have been administered so far. Based on current information in the UK, the risk of these rare blood clot reactions following the administration of the vaccine is estimated to be one in 250,000.
Although the risk of this clot is still rare, it appears to affect younger people. As a result, the JCVI has decided that since young people under 30 are at lower risk of falling seriously ill due to COVID, the balance of risks and benefits means an alternative jab should be given if available. What is clear at this time is that for the vast majority of people, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Are These Rare Clots Treatable?
Generally, the possibility of treatment is greater when cases are promptly identified. Treatment may include a number of medications, as well as immunoglobulins administered through a drip.
Some patients will feel better after receiving new generation blood thinners with regular monitoring. According to Prof Adrian Newland – a blood specialist – current evidence suggests there is a 75% survival rate among those who develop these rare clots. So far, there is a guidance for doctors put together by an expert panel of blood specialists in the UK; this guidance is constantly updated as more evidence emerges.
What Does This Mean If I Have Received the J&J Vaccine?
The AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines work in similar ways. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), only six cases of CVST have been discovered out of over 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine administered. The FDA only recommended a temporary pause on administration of the jab “out of an abundance of caution”.
The agency confirmed there has been one death so far due to blood clot reactions, while another is in critical condition. All six rare clot cases involved women aged between 18 and 48, with symptoms manifesting between 6 to 13 days of the jab.
A statement issued by Johnson and Johnson says that they shared “all adverse event reports” with healthcare authorities.
How We Can Help
Have you suffered rare blood clot reactions after receiving a coronavirus vaccine? Do you suspect that your medical professional has acted negligently during your care? Medical Negligence Direct works with a panel of specialist medical negligence solicitors who possess years of experience in handling different types of medical negligence claims, including blood clot negligence.
Fill our free claims assessment form or get in touch with us today on 0800 644 4240 to speak with one of our friendly solicitors and find out how we can help.