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AstraZeneca admits its Covid-19 vaccine Covishield may cause rare side effects

First Published: 30th April, 2024 14:40 IST

In legal documents submitted to the UK High Court, AstraZeneca conceded that its vaccine "can, in very rare cases, cause TTS" which is a side effect known as Thrombosis with

In a significant development, the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has acknowledged for the first time that the Covid-19 vaccine Covishield, may lead to rare side effects.

In legal documents submitted to the UK High Court, AstraZeneca conceded that its vaccine “can, in very rare cases, cause TTS” which is a side effect known as Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome, characterised by blood clots and low platelet counts.

Covishield, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, was widely used during the COVID-19 pandemic, including in India where it was produced by the Serum Institute.

The Oxford–AstraZeneca Covid vaccine was sold globally under the brand names Covishield and Vaxzevria among others.

The pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is facing a class action lawsuit in the UK due to claims that its vaccine caused deaths. 51 cases have been filed against AstraZeneca.

The first case was registered in 2023 by Jamie Scott, who received the vaccine in April 2021. Shortly after being inoculated with AstraZeneca’s vaccine, Scott said that he sustained a permanent brain injury due to the development of a blood clot and brain bleeding, rendering him unable to work.

Several families, through the court complaint, alleged that the AstraZeneca vaccine’s side effects have had devastating effects.

Lawyers have argued that the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is “defective” and that its efficacy has been “vastly overstated.” AstraZeneca has strongly denied these claims.

The admission by the company follows extensive legal disputes and could lead to substantial payouts if the company acknowledges vaccine-induced illness or death in specific cases.

Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) is a medical disorder characterized by blood clot formation (thrombosis) and a low blood platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Thrombosis happens when a clot forms within a blood vessel, potentially blocking blood flow.

Thrombocytopenia denotes a deficiency of platelets in the bloodstream. Platelets play a crucial role in blood clotting, essential for preventing excessive bleeding.

TTS often involves unusual blood clots, notably in the brain (cerebral venous sinus thrombosis) or abdomen. TTS is also known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT).

The symptoms of TTS can be severe. Individuals who have severe or prolonged headaches, impaired vision, chest pain, shortness of breath, limb swelling, or ongoing abdomen discomfort should be aware of the risk of TTS. Additionally, easy bruising or small blood spots beneath the skin that extend beyond the injection site may be indicative of the disorder.

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