One of the European drug regulator’s senior officials today claimed there is now a ‘clear’ link between AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine and potentially deadly blood clots.
Marco Cavaleri, head of vaccines at the European Medicines Agency (EMA), said that CVST — a brain blockage that can lead to a stroke — was occurring more often than expected in younger people. But he admitted that the body was still baffled about how the jab may trigger the rare complication.
EMA officials are already probing the link between the vaccine and CVST, which is more common in young women. Watchdog bosses are expected to make a formal announcement tomorrow. Despite his comments, Mr Cavaleri’s agency has repeatedly insisted AstraZeneca’s jab is safe and the benefits outweigh any risks.
Last week it slapped down Germany for suspending its use in under-60s, arguing there was ‘no evidence’ to support age-based restrictions. But at the same time, the watchdog paved the way for a potential U-turn, warning that the rate of the complication did appear to be slightly higher than expected in vaccinated under-60s. Experts across the board say the evidence is now ‘shifting’ and that the jab is likely – in extremely rare cases – to cause the brain blockage.
The UK’s safety watchdog, the MHRA, has so far spotted 30 rare clotting events in 18.1million doses – around one in every 600,000. But the EMA believes it may occur in up to one in every 100,000 under-60s. Britain’s medical regulator may also impose a German-style ban of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, it emerged last night. Sources told Channel 4 that it could stop under-30s getting the jab – which is the main one being used in Britain.