A Belgium decided to suspend vaccination with AstraZeneca in people under 55 for a month, after the European regulatory authority revealed that there were more cases of blood clotting and decreased platelets circulating in the youngest. France did the same, but Belgium was one of the few countries in the European Union that had not limited the administration of this vaccine in the country in any way.
A Estonia has also suspended the use of this vaccine in people under the age of 60, precisely because of this association with the rare clinical picture of blood clotting. According to the leader of the Government’s scientific advisory council, Irja Lutsar, this measure will remain in effect until more data is made available on the vaccine’s safety.
In the Spanish region of Castile and León, even before the announcement of the European Medicines Agency, vaccination against Covid-19 was suspended using the AstraZeneca solution. Health authorities justified the decision by “applying the precautionary principle”. It was taken so seriously that, in a vaccination center, nurses stopped attending those who already had their sleeves rolled up, ready to be vaccinated. Later, the Spanish Ministry of Health announced that it will propose that the vaccine be administered only to people between 60 and 65 years old.
“Stop the vaccination!” Nurses from Castile and Leon forced to suspend AstraZeneca when giving vaccines
A week ago, in Canada, health officials announced that only adults over 55 would vaccinate with AstraZeneca. The recommendation came from the National Commission for Immunization, which points out “security reasons” for this decision. “There is substantial uncertainty about the benefits of administering the vaccine to adults under 55, due to the potential risks, ”said the deputy director of the Committee.
In Germany, also last week, health authorities decided something similar to the Canadians: that the AstraZeneca vaccine in people under 60 it should only be used in emergencies. Klaus Holetschek, the Bavarian minister of health, argued that there have been more cases of blood clotting and decreased platelets circulating in younger people.
The regulatory authority has been meeting with the health ministers of the various Member States throughout this Wednesday in order to discuss the results of the investigation with AstreZeneca and the possible impact that they may have on vaccination campaigns against Covid-19.
Minister of Health convenes emergency meeting of European Health Ministers to discuss AstraZeneca vaccine
There are six signs that may indicate the development of thromboembolic events and one to be aware of after being vaccinated against Covid-19: shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling in the legs, persistent abdominal pain, neurological symptoms (including blurred vision and persistent headaches) and the appearance of small bruises in places other than where the vaccine was injected.
If you notice any of these signs after vaccination with AstraZeneca, you should seek medical assistance immediately, since the early treatment of symptoms by a health professional can be crucial for the patient’s recovery and to avoid more complex clinical conditions of blood clotting. These cases will also be reported to the drug surveillance system.
Covid-19. Benefits of AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh risks, says WHO
These are not the only symptoms to be aware of after being vaccinated, as they all drugs can cause adverse reactions. In the case of AstraZeneca, adverse reactions considered to be very common are tenderness, pain, heat, itching or the appearance of a subcutaneous blood stain at the injection site. But also fatigue, general malaise, muscle and joint pain, body temperature up to 38ºC, chills, headache and nausea.
The less frequent, but still common, adverse reactions are the appearance of a swelling or redness of the skin at the site where the vaccine was administered, fever (with a body temperature of 38ºC or more), vomiting and diarrhea. Less frequent are dizziness, drowsiness, problems with the lymphatic system, skin rashes, itching at the injection site, bruising, sweating and decreased appetite.
Even so, all specialists are unanimous: the advantages far outweigh the risks. And serious cases are very rare indeed.
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