Rare side effects of vaccine outweighed by risk of death from COVID

8 Apr 2021

The EU’s medical regulator has found a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a rare blood clotting disorder, but the risk of dying from COVID is far greater than the risk of developing the disorder. 

At the same time, the UK Government has said that the benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh any risks, but careful consideration should be given to people who are at higher risk of specific types of blood clots because of their medical condition. 

A 44-year-old man who received the AZ vaccine on March 22 was admitted to a Melbourne hospital last week for treatment for serious thrombosis and a low platelet count. 

AMA Vice President, Dr Chris Moy, said European authorities had been investigating whether there was a link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots. 

"What they found was there was definitely no overall risk of clotting throughout the community that was given the vaccine," he said. 

"And that the risk was so low, the benefits of the vaccine would far outweigh any potential risk. 

"But they were still looking at this little group where you have this very rare occurrence. 

"The rate was somewhere in the order of one in maybe several hundred thousand to one in a million or so. 

"Because of the low numbers, there's a lot of work to try to work out whether this is a real association or purely chance. 

"I know right throughout the world everyone is looking at this very carefully." 

The majority of Australians will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, rather than the Pzifer BioNTech jab, as it is being locally produced in Melbourne. 

Millions of people in the UK and Europe have received the AstraZeneca vaccine without reporting any major adverse side effects.