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Anyone with symptoms four days after vaccine ‘should seek medical advice’


People aged under 30 will be offered a different vaccine in the UK (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

People who have had the Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine should seek medical advice if they are still experiencing side effects after four days, it was advised.

Earlier today, it was announced that people under 30 in the UK will be given a different vaccine after concerns the AstraZeneca one could be linked to rare blood clots.

Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), told a press conference today that the AstraZeneca vaccine was still effective and that blood clots were extremely rare.

She said: ‘Anyone who has symptoms four days after vaccination or more should seek prompt medical advice.’

These symptoms could include a new onset of a severe or persistent headache or blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, or unusual skin bruising or pinpoint spots beyond the injection site.

She added: ‘I’d like to reiterate again that this is extremely rare and with the proven effectiveness against a disease that is still a huge risk to our population, the balance of benefits and known risks of the vaccine is still very favourable for the vast majority of people.’

Under-30s to be offered Pfizer or Moderna instead of Oxford vaccine

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Up to March 31, the MHRA in the UK has received 79 reports of blood clots accompanied by low blood platelet count, all in people who had their first dose of the vaccine, out of around 20 million doses given.

Of these 79, a total of 19 people have died, although it has not been established what the cause was in every case.

The 79 cases occurred in 51 women and 28 men, aged from 18 to 79. Of the 19 who died, three were under the age of 30, the MHRA said.

Some 14 cases of the 19 were cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a specific type of clot that prevents blood from draining from the brain.

The other five cases were other kinds of thrombosis in major veins.

The figures suggest the risk of rare blood clot is the equivalent to four people out of every million who receive the vaccine.

According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), analysis of the jab concluded that most of the incidents of blood clotting occurred in women under 60 within two weeks of vaccination with the AstraZeneca product. They said no specific risk factors have been identified based on current evidence.

We looked at how to spot the signs of a blood clot previously.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot, or thrombus, forms in one or more of the deep veins in the body – usually the leg.

Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein, usually in the leg (Picture: NHS)

According to the NHS, symptoms of a blood clot in the leg are:

  • Throbbing or cramping pain in one leg (rarely both legs), usually in the calf or thigh
  • Swelling in one leg (rarely both legs)
  • Warm skin around the painful area
  • Red or darkened skin around the painful area
  • Swollen veins that are hard or sore when you touch them

These symptoms also occur in your arm or stomach if that is where the blood clot is, but it’s less common.

After a meeting today, the World Health Organisation’s sub-committee of its Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) said: ‘Based on current information, a causal relationship between the vaccine and the occurrence of blood clots with low platelets is considered plausible but is not confirmed.’

They said that people with severe symptoms between four and 20 days after their vaccination should seek urgent medical advice.

Those symptoms include ‘shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, neurological symptoms, such as severe and persistent headaches or blurred vision, [or] tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection’.

Check if you’re at risk of blood clots

Blood clots and DVT are rare in young, healthy people.

You’re more likely to get them if you:

  • Are in hospital – especially if you cannot move around much, like after an operation
  • Go on a long journey (more than three hours) by plane, car or train
  • Are overweight
  • Smoke
  • Are over 60
  • Are using combined hormonal contraception such as the combined pill or contraceptive patch
  • Have had a blood clot or DVT before
  • Are pregnant or have just had a baby
  • Have an inflammatory condition such as Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis

What to do if you have a blood clot

If you think you may have a blood clot, you should get advice from NHS 111 as soon as possible.

They will tell you what to do and can arrange a phone call from a doctor if you need one.

But if you have symptoms of a blood clot, such as pain and swelling, and also have breathlessness and chest pain, you should call 999 immediately as it could be life threatening and need treatment straight away.

An ultrasound or X-ray in hospital will diagnose the blood clot. You may be given blood thinning medicines called anticoagulants as treatment.

Staying active and hydrated can help prevent blood clots, and wearing special socks for circulation if bed-bound or on long journeys if you’re at risk.

People under 30 will be offered a different vaccine (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

Can blood clots be fatal?

DVT can be very serious because blood clots in your veins can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and get stuck in your lungs.

This is called a pulmonary embolism (PE), which can be life threatening and needs treatment straight away.

Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:

  • Pain in your chest or upper back
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up blood

You should call 999 if you have any of these symptoms.

A review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) safety committee concluded today that ‘unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects’ of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Emer Cooke, executive director of the EMA, said: ‘These are very rare side effects.

‘The risk of mortality from Covid is much greater than risk of mortality from these side effects.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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