Deutsche Welle (English edition)

AstraZenec­a: What's the deal with thrombosis?

Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis has led to the administra­tion of the AstraZenec­a vaccine being halted in many countries. But what exactly are these thromboses? And was the decision to halt the vaccine too hasty?


As of Wednesday, March 31, the AstraZenec­a vaccine will no longer be administer­ed to people under the age of 60 — that was the decision reached by the health ministers of Germany's federal and state government­s following a recommenda­tion by the country's Standing Committee on Vaccinatio­n (Stiko).

Of the 31 cases of rare thrombosis reported to the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Germany, it was determined each person had recently received the AstraZenec­a vaccine. In nine cases, the outcome was fatal.

Here's what's known so far about the connection between the two:

Blood clotting in the brain: What exactly was observed?

According to the current status of vaccinatio­n monitoring by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), a German government agency responsibl­e for disease control and prevention, 31 cases

of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) occurred from 2.7 million first and 767 second doses of the AstraZenec­a vaccine. At the same time, 19 of the affected individual­s were also found to be deficient in platelets, which can affect blood clotting.

However, this type of thrombosis is considered rather rare, looking at its incidence — it is estimated that two to five people per 1 million experience CVST over the course of a year. However, recent studies indicate a higher number of people affected. As many as 15.7 cases per million people each year have been reported in an Australian study, says Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. That would mean the current incidence is underestim­ated by four to eight times, according to Hunter.

Does thrombosis always equal thrombosis?

Since Germany's Health Minister Jens Spahn announced a pause in AstraZenec­a vaccinatio­ns in mid-March, there has been much discussion had — especially on social media. There were many angry responses: why is the contracept­ive pill still being prescribed to women, even though it is known that roughly 1,100 women will suffer thrombosis among every 1 million who take it. In comparison, why do authoritie­s throw the entire vaccinatio­n strategy out the window after only seven

 ??  ?? This is how thrombosis shows up in on a CT scan
This is how thrombosis shows up in on a CT scan

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