August 10, 2022

Covishield vaccine: With Covishield (AstraZeneca) banned in some countries, should we be worried about its safety? – Times of India

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The Oxford-Astrazeneca coronavirus vaccine, one of the most popular vaccine candidates has been marred by controversies ever since the roll-out started. While the vaccine continues to be one of the widely accepted ones to be used in India and many other countries, it is also, strangely, one COVID vaccine that has been banned for use in many countries. Even as leading health experts have certified the vaccine to be safe and effective, the association of the vaccine with blood clots, severe side-effects and response against mutant virus variants has been a concern for many.

ALSO READ: Covaxin vs Covishield: Comparison between them



(Image taken from agencies)
Multiple countries have ordered a pause on the administration of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine ever since adverse reactions, such as blood clotting incidents were reported. To date, while the vaccine remains to be one of the most popular ones to be used, it has been put under investigation and subject to a consequent ban in at least 18 countries including Denmark, which was the first to issue a halt notice and then followed by nations like Austria, Norway, Iceland, Bulgaria, Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Thailand. Canadian provinces, too, halted use of Astrazeneca vaccines over similar concerns.

READ MORE: All about Covishield gap extension rules

Some other countries, meanwhile, ordered a complete pull out particular batches of the vaccine supply which were found to be linked to adverse events.

Meanwhile, in countries like the USA, the vaccine was not issued with emergency-use authorization.
In most countries where the Oxford-Astrazeneca inoculation was banned over use was found to be related to blood clotting and thrombotic events post-vaccination. In almost all of the cases where blood clotting was ruled as a diagnostic cause, vaccine beneficiaries have reported adverse events after receiving both doses of the Astrazeneca vaccine. Patients were found to have clots in their lungs, which were then treated accordingly. Thromboembolic events refer to the formation of a clot in a blood vessel that might also break loose and be carried by the bloodstream to plug another vessel.

In some of the countries, the use of the vaccine was primarily halted for people over the age of 65, who had been found to have low platelet counts. Later, the suspension was extended after some of the deaths, post blood clotting was found to be linked to the ingredients found in the vaccine.
Right now, the association of blood clotting disorders, in some people who were found to have low platelet count (which, according to officials, made them susceptible to dangers) has been trivialized as the main cause of concern and subsequently, came under investigation.

While blood clotting isn’t an officially classified side-effect mentioned with the vaccine, it has now been considered as a serious but rare reaction recorded post-vaccination.
However, while WHO investigations found the blood clotting events to be unrelated, experts have also stressed the point that the blood clotting incidents with the Astrazeneca shot, even if on the rarer end are completely different from other blood clots which cause serious damage, such as pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis, which can cause heart attacks and strokes.

More so, haematologists have also stressed that the precedence of blood clotting post a COVID infection could be much more lethal than a vaccine generated one. People with a history of using blood-thinning disorders also may not have a heightened risk, and absolutely safe to take the vaccine, adding that they could be at a greater danger of getting COVID-19 if they do not consider vaccination.
It should be noted that blood clots post-vaccination, or the usage of any medication may not happen to everyone, and right now, have been classified as a rare side-effect. The Astrazeneca vaccine has been a frontrunner in India ever since vaccination drives started in January and till now, very few adverse reactions have been recorded officially. India has reported clotting and bleeding events in just 0.61 for every million doses of the Covishield vaccine administered to people, according to statistics reported by the Health Ministry on May 18, 2021.

Doctors and leading medical authorities have also found the benefits of using the Covishield vaccine to be much greater than the risk of blood clotting disorders. Stressing people to be not too sceptical of the dangers, and seek medical help at the earliest, experts have also released a list of symptoms to be closely monitored in cases of thrombotic events. Breathlessness, pain in the chest, persistent abdominal pain, seizures, blurred vision or pin-sized red spots on the injection site for upto 20 days post-vaccination should alert a vaccine beneficiary to seek help.
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