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AstraZeneca reaffirms Covid vaccine safety amid rare side effect concerns

AstraZeneca restates dedication to patient safety and the safety profile of its COVID-19 vaccine amidst worries about rare side effects.

Written By: Rahul Pratyush New Delhi Updated on: May 01, 2024 9:45 IST
Covid vaccine
Image Source : GOOGLE AstraZeneca reaffirms Covid vaccine safety amid rare side effect concerns

In response to recent concerns regarding potential rare side effects associated with the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, the pharmaceutical company has underscored its unwavering commitment to patient safety while affirming the vaccine's overall safety profile. 

An AstraZeneca spokesperson stated, "Our sympathy goes out to anyone who has lost loved ones or reported health problems. Patient safety is our highest priority, and regulatory authorities have clear and stringent standards to ensure the safe use of all medicines, including vaccines."

This comes in the wake of a recent admission by AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical company, that its Covid vaccine Covishield and Vaxzevria "can, in very rare cases, cause Thrombosis Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS)."

Despite these rare occurrences, the pharmaceutical company maintains that extensive clinical trial data and real-world evidence consistently support the vaccine's safety and efficacy. Regulatory agencies worldwide continue to assert that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks of such extremely rare side effects.

Reports from UK media outlets reveal that AstraZeneca made this acknowledgement in court documents concerning a case alleging adverse reactions, including fatalities, associated with the vaccine co-developed with the University of Oxford.

The Serum Institute of India produced COVID-19 vaccine named Covishield but not using mRNA platform. It has been prepared using the viral vector platform. In the vaccine, a chimpanzee adenovirus - ChAdOx1 - has been modified to enable it to carry the COVID-19 spike protein into the cells of humans. This cold virus is basically incapable of infecting the receiver, but can very well teach the immune system to prepare a mechanism against such viruses.

The same technology was used to prepare vaccines for viruses like Ebola.

Notably in 2023, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in its report that TTS emerged as a new adverse event following immunisation in individuals vaccinated with COVID-19 non-replicant adenovirus vector-based vaccines.

This refers to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 ChAdOx-1 vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Janssen COVID-19 Ad26.COV2-S vaccines.

"TTS is a serious and life-threatening adverse event. WHO has issued this interim emergency guidance to increase awareness about TTS in the context of COVID-19 vaccination and help healthcare providers in the assessment and management of potential TTS cases," the 2023 statement by WHO read.

However, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya in March 2024 at 'ANI Dialogues - Navigating India's health sector' said that ICMR has done a detailed study which shows that COVID-19 vaccine is not responsible for heart attacks, and an individual's lifestyle and factors such as binge drinking could be among underlying causes.

Mandaviya said, "If someone has a stroke today, they think it is because of the Covid vaccine. ICMR has done a detailed study that the (Covid) vaccine is not responsible for heart attacks."

(with ANI inputs)

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