European Medicines Agency Approves AstraZeneca Vaccine, but Concerns Remain

April 14, 2021 Updated: April 14, 2021

Commentary

Following 20 million AstraZeneca jabs so far administered in the UK there have been 79 blood clot cases recorded, from which 19 deaths have occurred. The UK government’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) concludes that roughly one in 100,000 young adults are likely to develop these types of blood clots after taking the AstraZeneca vaccine.

An article in The Guardian, co-authored by David Spiegelhalter, chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at Cambridge University, and Anthony Masters of the Royal Statistical Society, calls this a “tolerable risk” compared to the vaccine’s benefits. It compares the chances of dying from the vaccine to the risk of dying under general anaesthesia, or on a skydiving jump, or winning the UK Lotto jackpot if you bought 450 tickets, or guessing the last five digits of someone’s mobile phone number.

However, those fatality numbers were not just two digits but 19 people who might still be enjoying life today if they had not received that jab. Five were aged over 50, 11 were under the age of 50 and three were under 30.

Given that the average age of COVID fatalities in the UK has been around 82 with the vast majority of those suffering other co-morbidities, a more pertinent comparison would be the chances of a young person under the age of 30 dying from COVID—with or without a vaccine—compared to the chances of one dying after taking the AZ jab.

As a result of those deaths, the UK government’s Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI) has paused the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for those under 30, offering them an alternative vaccine instead. And this is just the latest temporary ban the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has been subject to in Europe and around the world.

South Africa stopped using the AZ vaccine back in February due to its lack of efficacy against mild and moderate cases of its own COVID variant known as B.1.351.

In March, pending an opinion from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) regarding its safety, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Iceland, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Cyprus, Portugal, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Ireland and the Netherlands all halted use of the vaccine.

Under pressure from mounting fatality numbers across Europe, the EMA gave its ruling on April 7. Executive Director Emer Cooke told reporters, “This is a safe and effective vaccine. Its benefits in protecting people from COVID-19 with the associated risks of death and hospitalisation outweigh the possible risks.”

She then sought to reassure EU member governments with an implicit contradiction. She continued, “The committee also concluded that the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of blood clots,” but then admitted, “We still cannot rule out definitively a link between these cases and the vaccine.”

On its own website AstraZeneca acknowledged the risk their vaccine poses: “They (the EMA) came to the view that these events (blood clots) have a possible link to the vaccine and requested they be listed as an extremely rare potential side effect.”

Citing the link to blood clots, Denmark announced on April 14 it was ceasing the use of the AZ vaccine, and the EU Commission has decided not to renew contracts for the AZ and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

Media outlets in the UK have reported an upsurge in hospital visits due to the side effects of vaccines, but claim these were minor incidents, a view backed up by the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Katherine Henderson: “We are seeing people with mild headaches and persistent headaches but who are otherwise alright.”

However, I conducted an exclusive interview with one of the 79 blood clot patients registered with the UK government after she received the Oxford AstraZeneca jab. She wishes to remain anonymous, but her story is a harrowing one:

“I didn’t want to take the COVID vaccine, but in order to be able to fly to see my three children overseas I felt I had no choice. Soon after getting the vaccination I started to feel cold and tired. I then got a bad headache, vomited and had diarrhoea. I couldn’t lie down on the side I had a jab, or even pull up my blanket. I took painkillers but I was still shivering and shaking.”

“The next day I went to work but soon had to call the emergency number because I had a chest pain. They told me my symptoms were not due to the vaccination but to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).”

“After a week I developed more pains in my chest and legs so my husband took me to the hospital in the middle of the night. I was told my CT scan showed blood clots in my lungs and my low platelets count might be linked to the vaccination so my case was reported to the government.”

“After three nights I was discharged but warned of the ongoing risk of new blood clots forming. Two days later I had to call the ambulance because my right leg and chest were in very acute pain. I was scared that I was having a heart attack and was given morphine. Another scan showed an infection in the lower part of my lungs so I was treated with antibiotics and told not to take the second dose of the AZ vaccine.”

She now has to live with the consequences of the UK government forcing her to choose between taking a vaccination that is not fully tested, like all of the other COVID vaccines, or not visiting her own children.

AstraZeneca has acknowledged a possible short-term adverse effect but, because of the speedy roll out of the vaccines, none of the manufacturers, the WHO, national governments, nor anyone else knows exactly what the long-term effects will be.

Andrew Davies is a UK based video producer and writer. His award-winning video on underage sex abuse helped Barnardos children’s charity change UK law, whilst his documentary “Batons Bows and Bruises: A History of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,” ran for six years on the Sky Arts Channel. 

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.