The list of countries stopping AstraZeneca’s vaccine continues to increase after the vaccine was linked to serious side effects and a number of deaths. A Norwegian expert group consisting of doctors who examined three affected healthcare workers, one of whom died after taking the vaccine, has now been able to determine the cause that could cause the vaccine to be fatal.
According to Norwegian tabloid Verdens Gang (VG), a Norwegian expert group of doctors has been able to determine the cause behind the reported alarming side effects that led to a number of people becoming seriously ill, and which explains the increasing number of deaths that are directly linked to AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
The link could be established after three healthcare workers who took the vaccine, all under the age of 50 and without belonging to risk groups, became seriously ill shortly after the vaccination. One of the patients died just a few days later. An expert group at Rikshospitalet has investigated why the three healthcare employees had severe blood clots after being vaccinated.
“The cause of our patients’ condition has now been found,” said the chief physician and professor Pål Andre Holme to VG. The patients came to the hospital with acute pain and had blood clots in unusual places such as the stomach and brain. They also had bleeding and a low platelet count. The woman who died was under the age of 50 and like the others who fell ill, she had no reason to develop the sudden severe symptoms. The only common factor was that they had been vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s vaccine shortly before. The woman who died had received her vaccination earlier last week, was admitted to a local hospital on Thursday and was transferred to Rikshospitalet later.
The leading hypothesis of the leading experts was that the vaccine triggered a strong and unexpected immune reaction in the individuals, and after extensive testing, the Norwegian experts were able to establish that this was indeed the case.
“We had a theory that this is a strong immune reaction that most likely came after the vaccine and we have now come to the conclusion that it is so,” said the chief physician. The problem behind the strong immune response is specific antibodies. There is no other explanation behind the immune reaction, according to Holme.
“We have no other history in these patients that can cause such a strong immune response. I am absolutely certain that it is these antibodies that are the cause, and see no other reason than that it is the vaccine that triggers it.”
The Norwegian expert group was able to show that it was specific antibodies not all antibodies. “We take vaccines to get an immune response to what we are to be protected against. Then you develop, among other things, antibodies. Some antibodies can then react to activate the platelets, as in these cases, and cause blood clots,” Holme told VG.
The Norwegian woman is not the only one whose death could have been linked directly to AstraZeneca’s vaccine. Last week it also emerged that a 60-year-old woman died of a blood clot and suffered from very serious symptoms, according to Danish outlet DR. An Italian man, music teacher Sandro Tognatti, 57, also died the day after taking the vaccine, prompting Italy to stop the vaccine immediately.
At least seven people have suffered blood clots in the brain in Germany and three of them have died after taking the vaccine. It is part of the ongoing investigation that led Germany to stop AstraZeneca’s vaccine. However, the German Minister of Health Jens Spahn also says that the halt is a “pure precaution”. In Bulgaria, a death has also been reported which has also led to a suspension of the continued mass vaccination plan with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Countries outside Europe have also begun stopping vaccination with AstraZeneca’s vaccine, including Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela.
Last week Sweden, Latvia, Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands halted the rollout. The World Health Organization (WHO) nevertheless continues to recommend vaccination with AstraZeneca. European Commissioner Hans Kluge says that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh all possible risks and that it should continue to be used.
The European Medicines Agency has however decided to resume vaccination with AstraZeneca’s vaccine, despite the fact that Norwegian doctors stand by their conclusion that a connection between the blood clots and the vaccine cannot be ruled out.
The EU announced on March 18 that the vaccine was “safe” and that vaccination will therefore be resumed. The EU does not deny the Norwegian doctors’ conclusions, but believes that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks, Swedish news outlet SVT reported.
The Danish Medicines Agency has meanwhile sent out a letter to all Danes who have received the vaccine in the last 14 days stating which symptoms the vaccinated should be aware of and which could indicate that there is a risk of blood clots:
Severe abdominal pain
A leg feels cold.
Suddenly and unexpected pain in some part of the body.
Hard to breathe.
Paralysis in one side of the body.
They have now also come out with an extended list of other symptoms to keep track of:
Multiple and newly acquired major bruises and / or multiple punctate hemorrhages in skin / mucous membranes (e.g. in the mouth)
nosebleeds that are difficult to stop
Swelling, redness or pronounced tenderness in the leg or arm (not locally around the injection site)
Sudden shortness of breath and / or chest pain.
Symptoms such as pain in the arm where you have received the jab, fever and fatigue are common and something you should expect after a vaccination.