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AstraZeneca vindicates skeptics with admission that its COVID-19 vaccine can cause blood clots
Photo Illustration by Nikos Pekiaridis/NurPhoto via Getty Images

AstraZeneca vindicates skeptics with admission that its COVID-19 vaccine can cause blood clots

The British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has finally admitted that its COVID-19 vaccine can cause bloodclots.

While there were plenty of indications and fatalities over the years to suggest as much, the company and so-called experts around the world long downplayed the causal link along with critics' concerns.

Clot shot

The Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was a viral vector vaccine developed in the United Kingdom, which used a transmogrified version of a chimpanzee adenovirus. The shot was approved for use in the U.K. in December 2020 and later approved by the World Health Organization. It was not rolled out at the outset in the U.S., although the Biden administration did agree to share up to 60 million doses with other nations.

By January 2022, the vaccine had been injected globally more than 2.5 billion times.

More than 20 countries temporarily took AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine off the market in March 2021 following mounting reports of abnormal bleeding, low blood platelets, blood clots, and sudden deaths among various recipients.

Some agencies had been caught off guard as blood clotting was not an advertised side effect of the vaccine. Reuters indicated that Australia's Federal Office for Safety in Health Care, for instance, was surprised when a 49-year-old nurse died from "severe coagulation disorders" after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.

USA Today indicated that some of the cases that raised red flags in 2021 involved blood clots in the lungs, the legs, throughout the blood, and in the brain.

German and Nordic researchers concluded that some vaccine recipients were developing a clotting disorder that produced antibodies that activated platelets and led to clots, reported the New York Times. What was then dubbed "vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia" was believed to harm one in 100,000 recipients.

As a point of contrast, for patients under 30, the vaccine would prevent only 0.8 in 100,000 from going to the hospital with COVID, according to the Telegraph.

AstraZeneca repeatedly denied causation, noting in a March 14, 2021, statement that a careful review showed "no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country."

AstraZeneca added that the "available evidence does not confirm that the vaccine is the cause [of the clots]."

Despite an alarming number of apparent victims, various health organizations, including the European Medicines Agency, suggested that "the vaccine's benefits continue to outweigh its risks."

Multiple European countries resumed AstraZeneca vaccinations in late March after the European Medicine Agency claimed it was "safe and effective."

The World Health Organization doubled down in June 2022, claiming AstraZeneca was "safe and effective for individuals aged 18 and above," reported the BBC.

The cry of the so-called experts

The temporary caution exercised by some European nations was criticized by American medical professionals such as Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center and an infectious disease specialist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, USA Today reported at the time.

"While it's easy to scare people, it's very hard to unscare them," said Offit. "It creates the perception that these vaccines are dangerous."

Offit further suggested that the "only way out of this pandemic is by vaccination, and if we make people reluctant to be vaccinated, we're going to have a hard time getting out of this pandemic."

"Unless there is an unusually high rate of blood clots among people receiving a particular vaccine, I just think it's quite dangerous to draw these kind of conclusions of causality without knowing," Akiko Iwasaki, an epidemiologist at Yale University, said in March 2021.

Daniel Salmon of Johns Hopkins' Institute for Vaccine Safety told the New York Times that vaccines had not been shown to cause blood clots.

Peter Hotez, a cable news vaccine promoter and the founding dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, claimed, "By unnecessarily suspending the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, the European countries may have created a new problem."

Hotez suggested that the "vaccine ecosystem is fragile, and it doesn't take a lot to get a vaccine voted off the island."

Legal action

Jamie Scott, a father of two, was left with a permanent brain injury after developing a blood clot and bleed on his brain following his AstraZeneca vaccination in April 2021. On three occasions, his wife was told by hospital staff that Scott was going to die. Having so far survived his injury, Scott — certain the vaccine was "defective" — is now seeking to hold AstraZeneca accountable, reported the Telegraph.

Scott sued the company last year. At least 51 other alleged vaccine victims have since followed his lead, launching a group action under section 2 of the British Consumer Protection Act of 1987. Among the plaintiffs are the widower and two young children of Alpa Tailor, a 35-year-old who died after receiving the shot.

A coroner determined in September 2021 that the mother of two had died from blood clots on her brain. She began suffering stroke-like symptoms a week after her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, reported the Daily Mail.

In the event that AstraZeneca loses in court, it could be forking over around $100 million in compensation. The British government will, however, underwrite the company's legal bills.

The admission

AstraZeneca told Scott's lawyers in March 2023, "We do not accept that [thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome] is caused by the vaccine at a generic level."

However, the Telegraph noted that in a legal document submitted in February to the High Court of Justice in the U.K., the company noted, "It is admitted that the AZ vaccine can, in very rare cases, cause TTS. The causal mechanism is not known."

After confirming victims' suspicions, the company attempted to cast doubt on whether the plaintiffs were themselves victims of such "very rare cases," writing, "TTS can also occur in the absence of the AZ vaccine (or any vaccine). Causation in any individual case will be a matter for expert evidence."

According to the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences, "very rare" side effects are those that occur in less than one in 10,000 cases, reported the Independent.

The company has reportedly also attempted to cover itself, claiming that the product information concerning the AstraZeneca vaccine was updated in April 2021 to note "the possibility that the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is capable, in very rare cases, of being a trigger" for TTS.

Kate Scott, the first plaintiff's wife, told the Telegraph, "The medical world has acknowledged for a long time that VITT was caused by the vaccine. It's only AstraZeneca who have questioned whether Jamie’s condition was caused by the jab."

"It's taken three years for this admission to come. It's progress, but we would like to see more from them and the Government. It's time for things to move more quickly," said the victim's wife. "We need an apology, fair compensation for our family and other families who have been affected. We have the truth on our side, and we are not going to give up."

Sarah Moore, a partner with the law firm representing the group action, said in a statement, "It has taken AstraZeneca a year to formally admit that their vaccine has caused this harm, when this was a fact widely accepted by the clinical community since the end of 2021: In that context, regrettably it seems that AstraZeneca, the Government and their lawyers are more keen to play strategic games and run up legal feels than to engage seriously with the devastating impact that the vaccine has had upon our clients' lives."

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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