Business Standard

AstraZeneca admits its Covishield vaccine may lead to rare side effect

AstraZeneca has admitted for the first time in court documents that its Covid vaccine can cause rare side effects, marking an about-turn that may open the door for a multi-million pound legal payout

Covishield

The lawsuit was started last year by Jamie Scott, a father of two, who suffered a permanent brain injury by TTS after being administered the AstraZeneca vaccine in April 2021 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Barkha Mathur New Delhi
AstraZeneca has admitted for the first time in court documents that its Covid-19 vaccine, sold globally under the brand names Covishield and Vaxzevria among others, may lead to a rare side-effect. According to media reports, the admission was made in a legal document submitted to the UK High Court in February.

The company stated in the document that a rare side effect known as Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) can happen even if there is no vaccination, adding that expert testimony will be required to determine causation in every individual case. It said, “It is admitted that the AZ vaccine can, in very rare cases, cause TTS. The causal mechanism is not known."

Developed in collaboration with University of Oxford, AstraZeneca’s vaccine was manufactured in India by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII). As many as 1,749,417,978 doses of Covishield vaccine have been administered in India, in what was the world’s largest vaccination programme from January 2021, according to the vaccine dashboard of the government's web portal CoWIN (as of 10:30 pm April 29, 2024).

The Cambridge-headquartered British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company now faces a class-action lawsuit, which claims that its vaccine caused serious injuries and fatalities.

ALSO READ: China's top Covid-19 vaccine scientist expelled from Parliament for graft

According to media reports, several families filed complaints in court alleging that the AstraZeneca vaccine’s side-effects have had devastating effects. 

The lawsuit was started last year by Jamie Scott, a father of two, who suffered a permanent brain injury by TTS after being administered the AstraZeneca vaccine in April 2021.

Scott’s case, along with many others’, reveals the severe impact of TTS, which leads to blood clots and low platelet counts.

ALSO READ: AstraZeneca trounces Q1 estimates as resilient demand fuels growth

Speaking to The Telegraph Scott’s wife Kate said, “The medical world has acknowledged for a long time that vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (VITT) was caused by the vaccine."

Kate has demanded an apology, fair compensation for their family and other families who have been affected.

AstraZeneca's admission is seen as a key moment in the ongoing legal dispute, underscoring potential risks linked to vaccination.

Notably, the product was banned in several countries including Denmark, Ireland, Thailand, the Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, Congo, and Bulgaria soon followed suit. In April 2021, the Australian Government received advice and recommendations from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) about the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) vaccine and a syndrome called Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) after which the vaccine was made unavaiable in Australia from March 21, 2023, so no further cases of AstraZeneca-related TTS can occur in Australia. 


What is TTS?

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, Government of Australia, TTS involves blood clotting (thrombosis) combined with low platelets (thrombocytopenia). It says that the blood clots can appear in different parts of the body such as the brain or abdomen (belly).  

"There was a link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a rare but serious side effect called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)," the deparment claims on its website. It further says that the risk of TTS was higher in younger people.

Symptoms of TTS include severe, persistent headache that did not improve with regular painkillers, blurred vision, confusion or seizure, weakness of face or limbs, shortness of breath or chest pain, severe abdominal (belly) pain, leg swelling, and unexplained pin-prick rash or bruising away from the injection site. These symptoms typically occurr between 4 and 42 days after a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to the headlth department of the Australian government.

Read the full paper by Australian health department
 
Watch: Covishield can cause blood clots, low platelet count. Here's all you should know

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: Apr 29 2024 | 10:31 PM IST

Explore News