A total of 316 cases of rare blood clots with low platelets have been recorded in adults who received AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in the European Economic Area, an executive of the region’s drug regulator said.
The figure as of Thursday includes 174 new reports since the European Medicines Agency (EMA) provided an update in April, Georgy Genov, the chief of the watchdog’s safety monitoring operations, said during a briefing on Friday.
The EMA has been looking into cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) since March and has found a possible link to the vaccine developed with Oxford University, Vaxzevria, and to Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot.
It has, however, maintained that overall benefits of both the vaccines outweigh any risks posed by them.
Genov said a further 19 million people had received the first dose of Vaxzevria in the EEA since the April update, adding that the frequency of TTS has not changed – it is still extremely rare – but the fatality rate following symptoms has decreased.
He said the drop in death rates possibly indicated that awareness among those vaccinated and those administering the vaccine and treating patients had gone up, leading to early diagnosis and treatment.
The European Economic Area comprises the 27 countries in the European Union, plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; Editing by Alison Williams