Professor Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London and a SAGE advisor, suggested that AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine may not be suitable for young people
AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine may not be suitable for young people if its connection to blood clots turns out to be true, one of No10’s top scientific advisors suggested today.
“Professor Lockdown” Neil Ferguson said older and medium-sized groups should be given the vaccine “very much” as the threat from the coronavirus far outweighs the risk of blood clots, which are thought to affect only 1 in 600,000 people who get the Stitch received (0.00017 percent).
However, the 53-year-old SAGE epidemiologist, who himself suffered AstraZeneca’s sting, said the risk balance is “a little more complicated” when younger people who are less susceptible to the virus are considered. The risk of blood clots from the vaccine may prove to be higher in younger age groups.
British scientists say the risk of dying from Covid is 0.04 percent for 25 to 44 year olds and 0.01 percent for people aged 15 to 24. For comparison: In older age groups, the rate is up to 6 percent.
It comes after several European countries – including Germany, Spain and Norway – suspended the UK-made vaccine after dozens of people who were vaccinated suffered a rare brain clot known as CVST, or cerebral venous sinus thrombosis.
The UK regulator has seen 30 similar cases, seven of which have died. However, she insists that her analysis still hasn’t found any evidence that the vaccine is causing the blood clots. This finding was also confirmed by the EU medical watchdog.
Professor Ferguson told the BBC Radio 4 Today Program: “With regard to the data, there is currently increasing evidence that there is a rare risk, particularly with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“But it may be associated at a lower level with other vaccines for these unusual low platelet blood clots.” It seems that the risk is age related, it may possibly be gender related – but the data are weaker on this.
“The older you are, the lower the risk and the higher the risk for Covid. So the risk-benefit equation strongly suggests vaccination.
“I think it gets a little more complicated when you get to younger age groups where the risk-benefit equation is more complicated.”
Since health professionals aren’t sure how common CVST is typically in the wider population, they are still unsure if it is more common than usual in people who have been vaccinated.
CVST, or cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, is a blockage in a vein that carries blood away from the brain and can cause stroke or bleeding in the skull.
Scientists say it is morally difficult to stab children because they have almost no risk of dying from the disease or getting seriously ill and are only vaccinated to protect the elderly. However, it is not yet known how long Covid can affect them.
Leaked government plans last month suggested ministers were planning to provide shocks to millions of under-18s as of August to achieve herd immunity – when the virus cannot spread because so many people are protected.
The risk of dying from Covid-19 is significantly higher than the rate of CSVT blood clots, which have not even been definitely linked to the vaccines (based on Cambridge University death estimates and CSVT incidence in Germany).
At least 10 countries in Europe, which Germany joined last night, have restricted AstraZeneca’s shock use, mostly only for those over 60 as the CSVT cases occur in younger adults
A SCHEDULE OF THE ASTRAZENECA BLOOD CLOT SAGA
7th March: Austria stopped using a batch of vaccines after a 49-year-old woman who received the vaccine died of a “severe coagulation disorder” and a 35-year-old developed a blood clot in her lungs.
March 11: Authorities in Denmark, Norway and Iceland stopped using the vaccine after a 60-year-old woman died of a blood clot in Denmark after reports were made public in Austria. Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said: “It is currently not possible to conclude whether there is a connection.”
March 11: The European Medicines Agency’s Safety Committee opened an investigation into the cases. It confirms that 30 cases of ‘thromboembolic events’ – clots – have been reported in the EEA after five million vaccines.
March 12th: Thailand has suspended the use of the vaccine due to European concerns. Bulgaria is also stopping to use it.
March 12th: The European Medicines Agency, the UK regulator for medicines and health products, Health Canada, the World Health Organization and AstraZeneca themselves have all spoken out in favor of the vaccine, stating that there is no evidence that it is related to blood clots.
March 13th: The Netherlands, Italy and Ireland temporarily stopped using the vaccine as fears about the cases in Austria and Denmark increased.
the 14th of March: Germany and France have suspended the vaccine.
March, 15: Spain, Portugal and Slovenia have suspended the use of the shock.
March, 15: Professor Andrew Pollard, the Oxford expert who conducted the sting’s clinical studies, insisted safety data were “comforting” and said “these blood clots still appear” as often as in unvaccinated people.
March 16: World Health Organization officials met to discuss the issue. The European Medicines Agency is still investigating.
17. March: Scientists accuse governments of banning the push on political grounds. AstraZeneca’s vaccine has been a hot spot in the past.
March 18th: The European Medicines Agency is holding a press conference on its research and rules that the vaccine is “safe and effective”. They said there wasn’t enough evidence to rule out a connection to blood clots, but also not enough to prove one. All in all, it would be safer for countries to keep using the vaccine to stop Covid. The investigation would continue.
March 18th: Germany, France and Italy will resume use of the stitch after the EMA is concluded.
19th March: Finland stands the sting after finding blood clots in its own population.
19th March: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Spain all confirm they will use the push again. The Scandinavian countries did not obey and upheld the ban.
March 22: A study has been published which found that public confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine had collapsed at the time of the blood clot saga in Europe. A YouGov poll found that more than half of people in Germany, France, Italy and Spain thought the shock was unsafe.
March 30: Germany bans the vaccine for people under 60 after officials found 31 cases of CSVT after 2.7 million vaccinations.
2nd of April: UK regulators announce that a total of 30 blood clots were found in Brits vaccinated with the AZ shock, 22 in the brain.
The UK’s MHRA regulator announced Friday that 18.1 million people vaccinated with AstraZeneca had 30 cases of brain clots – about one in 600,000 people (0.00017 percent).
The UK health watchdog said he hadn’t seen any CVST cases in people who had received the Pfizer sting, but there was still no evidence that the AstraZeneca vaccine increased the risk. This may be because different groups of people are receiving different vaccines.
Last month, Germany violated the advice of the European regulator and banned the AstraZeneca bump for under-60s because it fears a link to the disease.
Scientists say the balance of risk is “very straightforward” and clear for vaccination, since CVST cases are “extremely rare”.
Officials in Frankfurt recorded 31 cases out of 2.7 million people given the AstraZeneca bump who were alarmed by the number. However, this only corresponds to a rate of 0.0012 percent.
For comparison: Experts from the University of Cambridge estimate the risk of death from Covid in 25 to 44-year-olds at 0.04 percent – 33 times higher.
For 15 to 24 year olds, the Covid death risk is 0.005 percent, which makes it four times more likely.
Forty of people under 20 have died in England, out of a total of 86,351, along with 598 20 to 40 year olds.
The main benefit of giving the vaccine to younger people is that it protects older members of society, whose risk of death is much higher, and therefore allows ministers to relax the lockdown rules.
Professor Adam Finn, Researcher at Bristol University and Government Advisor on Vaccines, said: “The extreme rarity of these events in the context of the many millions of vaccine doses administered means that the risk-benefit decision is made for those invited to receive Covid vaccines very simple: getting the vaccine is by far the safest option to minimize the individual risk of serious illness or death. “
Comparing CVST rates to death from coronavirus is difficult for a number of reasons, including the fact that dates such rare are inconclusive and that more people get a sting than catch coronavirus.
Regulators also do not break down CVST cases by age, although they are believed to be more common in young adult women.
And the coronavirus death rates estimated by experts at Cambridge University include only those who get the virus.
This means that the average person’s actual risk of dying from coronavirus is significantly lower than the estimate since not everyone catches it – although the likelihood of getting it one day is far higher if no one takes the vaccine.
Recent calculations by the Cambridge team suggest that the risk of dying from Covid is lowest in toddlers and babies at 0.00039 percent, around one in 256,000.
It’s highest for people over 75, at 6.9 percent, or one in 14. Overall, the risk is 0.3 percent, which means that in the entire population, about three out of every thousand infected people die.
Another complication is that there is no evidence that the coronavirus vaccine caused CVST, which means the cases that have occurred may have occurred anyway.
If so, the risk posed by the vaccine is practically zero and the shock is infinitely safer than not being vaccinated.
But even if a connection is made, it will be difficult to know how many cases the sting will cause in people who otherwise would not have developed CVST.
And CVST is survived more often than fatally. Health professionals say if it’s discovered in time – before it blocks the vein – it can be easy to treat with blood thinners.
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA estimates that one in 200,000 people of all ages develops CVST each year.
The European Medicines Agency announced last week that the risk appears to be 1 in 100,000 people under 60 who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
However, much of the data comes from German AstraZeneca vaccine patients, who are mostly young female adults, and young female adults are statistically more likely to get CSVT even when no vaccine is around.
EMA director Emer Cooke said cases are typically 10 to one higher in women than in men.
WHAT IS CVST?
Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) is an extremely rare type of blood clot in the brain.
It occurs when the vein that drains blood from the brain becomes blocked by a blood clot, causing potentially fatal bleeding in the brain.
Symptoms can quickly worsen from headaches, blurred vision, and fainting, to complete loss of control of movement and seizures.
John Hopkins University estimates that it affects five in a million people in the US each year, suggesting that 330 patients in the UK have the disease annually.
According to the university, it may affect patients with low blood pressure, cancer, vascular disease, and those who have a tendency to blood clotting. Head injuries can also trigger the condition.
The UK regulator said CVST was so rare that they weren’t even sure how common it was in the general population.
The birth control pill and smoking can be risk factors for this – scientists are investigating the connections.
Following the EU horror stories of the AstraZeneca sting that took place in a series of deliveries, the MHRA said last month that there were only five cases of CVST out of 11 million doses administered.
Last week’s update, which included all side effects recorded up to March 24th, estimated the number at 22.
The watch dog also revealed that he had eight reports of other serious clotting events related to low platelets.
The MHRA said: ‘Our rigorous review of UK reports of a rare and specific type of blood clot is ongoing.
“Based on this ongoing review, the benefits of vaccines for Covid continue to outweigh any risks and you should continue to receive your vaccine when prompted.”
The weak links between the vaccine and CVST are still confused, as experts in Germany and other countries where the sting has stopped claim the condition is most common in women.
But all five of the original UK cases were among men.
The MHRA did not provide any details on the new 25 cases.
Until recently, Germany had banned the AZ sting for people over 60 due to initial fears about blood clots.
Other large European countries have also restricted the sting to certain age groups, although despite vaccinating more people they have seen significantly fewer cases of CVST.
If the same rate of CVST had occurred in Germany in the UK, nearly 200 people would have already been diagnosed as six times as many shocks were used.