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Update on Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines Posted on 8 Apr 2021

Following the announcements from the MHRA and the JCVI yesterday, you may have seen reports in the news about a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a rare type of blood clot associated with low platelet counts. This is particularly rare as platelets normally help clotting.

 

The updated advice is that for patients who have a history of major blood clot disorders or particular low-platelet disorders, the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be given where the benefit outweighs the risk. For people aged 30 or over and those with other health conditions, the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh any risk of clotting problems.


As a precaution, anyone who experienced major blood clots with low platelet levels after their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine should not have their second. Everyone else should come forward for their second dose when invited.

 

Call 111 immediately if you get any of these symptoms starting from around 4 days to 4 weeks after being vaccinated:


- a severe headache that is not relieved with painkillers or is getting worse

- a headache that feels worse when you lie down or bend over

- a headache that's unusual for you and occurs with blurred vision, feeling or being sick, problems speaking, weakness, drowsiness or seizures (fits)

- a rash that looks like a pin-prick rash, small bruises or bleeding under the skin

- shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal (tummy) pain


You can read more about this on the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/


There is more detailed information available on the Government website, including a risk/benefit analysis for different groups of people:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-and-blood-clotting/covid-19-vaccination-and-blood-clotting


And for the highly technical version, the MHRA press release is online here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mhra-issues-new-advice-concluding-a-possible-link-between-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca-and-extremely-rare-unlikely-to-occur-blood-clots

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