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AstraZeneca acknowledges Covid vaccine caused rare side effect

The vaccine, sold as Covishield and Vaxzevria, has a small risk of causing blood clots and low blood platelet count, known as Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome

AstraZeneca acknowledges Covid vaccine caused rare side effect
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has for the first time acknowledged in legal documents submitted to a UK court a rare side effect linked to its COVID-19 vaccine, The Telegraph reported.

The filings reportedly state that the vaccine, known under brand names like Covishield and Vaxzevria, carries a minor risk of causing Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS).

TTS can cause blood clots and low blood platelet count and the symptoms can include severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg swelling, or shortness of breath.

These symptoms usually appear two weeks after the vaccine has been administered, Dr Bimal Chhajer, a senior cardiologist and former consultant at AIIMS, said.

To reduce the likelihood of severe consequences such as this, timely identification and intervention are crucial.

“There is no reason for concern for Indians who received the vaccination almost 2 years ago,” Chhajer said. “Considering that millions of doses of the covid vaccine have been given, TTS is extremely rare post vaccination. There have only been solitary case reports published.”
The vaccine was manufactured in India by the name Covishield at Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII).

Shares of Astrazeneca Pharma India slid 4% to ₹5,325 apiece on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for SII declined to comment.

The pharma firm said TTS is a rare side effect and can occur even without vaccination while adding that each case requires expert evaluation to determine a clear cause.

The admission came amid a class-action lawsuit as the company faces up to 51 litigations alleging serious side effects and deaths from the vaccine.

“TTS has also been linked to other vaccinations, including the rabies, pneumococcal, influenza, and H1N1 shots,” Chhajer said.
While the overall incidence is extremely low, Chhajer said the potential severity of the side effect warrants attention.

Heart-related conditions such as peripheral artery disease, deep vein thrombosis, heart attacks, and strokes can be associated with blood clots and low platelet counts.

“These medical conditions have serious hazards, especially when they affect younger people,” said Dr Chhajer.

The lawsuit follows individual complaints, including one from a man who reportedly suffered permanent brain injury after receiving the vaccine in 2021.

To be sure, the development highlights potential vaccine risks, but doesn’t necessarily imply widespread dangers. Countries like Australia previously limited AstraZeneca vaccine use due to TTS concerns, demonstrating ongoing risk assessments by health authorities.

“It’s critical to highlight that there are many more advantages to the covid-19 vaccine than disadvantages, including the possibility of TTS,” Chhajer said, adding that “vaccination is still an essential weapon for stopping the transmission of the virus, averting serious disease, and eventually saving lives.”

“Nonetheless, people should be informed about the symptoms and indicators of TTS and should consult a doctor if they develop any unsettling side effects after receiving a vaccination,” he added.


Shireen Khan is a Senior Correspondent at Press Insider. She covers lifestyle, culture, and health. More

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