Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots

This post: circa 1,250 words, estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Prelude intro

I personally don’t wholly trust the Covid-19 vaccines, any of them, though that’s as much to do with caution (because I understand their development and delivery) as paranoia. I’ve written as much in the past.

However, the world (read governments and big business, not you and I) needs a cure, so it was rushed through.

Compromises were made (even if only in red-tape cutting).
Agreements were made (safe to say not all above the table).
Some people got insanely rich very, very quickly.
Telephone number sums were handed out left, right and centre.
(That wasn’t a conspiracy comment, but an observation of the distasteful nature of capitalist big business and corporatism.)

But the world did NOT work together.

Instead, governments and big pharma were as busy trying to hack each other as anything else, more interest in creating a proprietary (read mega-profitable) IP than a solution. The Russians hacked the Americans, the Chinese hacked the British and round and around it went. i.e. The motive is money, not saving lives.
(e.g. Guardian: Hackers ‘try to steal Covid vaccine secrets in intellectual property war’).

We’ve had our jab, have you?

Now, we had AZ and Pfizer in our house, so this is not so much being anti-vaccine as much as an understanding of the rushed nature of the vaccine, and the escape clauses the pharmaceutical giants got.

Besides, any company making up to a billion or more a month in profit… well, people kill for far less.

So, some had mild adverse affects, some had no side-effects whatsoever. I was fine with my AstraZeneca jab, but seasonal flu vaccines, less so. How it goes. Same with any medicine, or indeed food.

AZ embolisms – all about cost?

Take the AstraZeneca vaccine. It’s delivered at cost, so effectively free (e.g. $2 to $3 instead of Pfizer and Moderna’s reported $30 a shot)

A claim – a rumour perhaps – was spread that AZ causes blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, even deadly clots – embolisms – on the brain, that it’s killing people. BAM. Distribution halted (paused) across Europe, people scared.

Fact: A few people (up to 40 was reported – it was 30) did have rare clots following their injection.

News report: “This is far more than normal. AZ is killing people.”

…however, only a few of those died. Out of tens of millions given this vaccine across the world. Even then, the evidence of a direct causation is flimsy at best.

Fact (not reported): Embolisms happen. Had one myself, and an aneurism. No fun, but they happen. Operations can cause them. Long flights can cause them. Medicine can cause them. Indeed vaccines can cause them. But, also, sitting too long, too often can also cause them.

For the most part, ‘cos lockdowns, furloughs etc, most of the world has been sat at home, twiddling their thumbs. This was enforced more strictly in some countries than others – especially across Europe.

Given the above, an increase in cases of embolisms, particularly amongst the old, is to be expected.

This is supported by medical evidence (e.g. Increased deep vein thrombosis cases during the COVID-19 quarantine (Karaali et al., Dec 2020)). Similarly, Covid-19 causes embolisms in some patients.

Fact: The EU dismissed the claims and distribution started again.

The medical concern was perhaps valid, and rightly investigated, but my question would be this: why, based on a rumour, was this vaccine halted across Europe – before any investigation – when sense (and evidence) suggest other equally likely causations lie behind this (aetiology). Who assigned blame to the AZ vaccine? Who pushed for a blanket ban?

In Norway 120,000 had this vaccine, only 3 were reported to have clots, only one died. The headline read:
Professor says cause of rare bloodclots in people vaccinated with AstraZeneca has been found. See also Science Norway.

I’m not a doctor, much less an expert in the requisite fields, but it does appears to be believed to be an auto-immune response. The question is not whether it was specific to ‘this’ brand of Covid-19 – but whether this particular person would have had a similar reaction with another brand, such as Moderna or Pfizer.

The media paint alarm, fear, uncertainly, doubt.
Yet, in the UK, after 5 million doses, only 5 possible cases were recorded.
Cui bono? Media selling copy? Advertisers? Bit pharma?

Associated Press boldly announced that Major European nations suspend use of AstraZeneca vaccine

In Germany the vaccine was suspended because one institute claimed a “noticeable increase” in blood clots, while another German institute stated that “There is absolutely no data that supports [the German government’s] decision” to halt this vaccine. (New Scientist).

It’s obvious, isn’t it?

Did the Paul Ehrlich Institute jump to their premature conclusion – or were they nudged in that direction by parties with a vested interest in such a story? As I pointed out, old people, immobile people, are more prone to blood clots. They suddenly get up and go out for a vaccine, clots that where present but less malign can – and do – move. This particular rise in DVT and related thrombosis and embolisms was 100% predictable and should have been monitored, if people were on the ball.

As the article an The Guardian points out, It’s human nature to spot patterns in data. But we should be careful about finding causal links where none may exist.

Call it luck, chance or fate – it’s difficult to incorporate this into our thinking. So when the European Medicines Agency says there have been 30 “thromboembolic events” after around 5m vaccinations, the crucial question to ask is: how many would be expected anyway, in the normal run of things?

We can try a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation. Deep vein thromboses (DVTs) happen to around one person per 1,000 each year, and probably more in the older population being vaccinated. Working on the basis of these figures, out of 5 million people getting vaccinated, we would expect significantly more than 5,000 DVTs a year, or at least 100 every week. So it is not at all surprising that there have been 30 reports.

In the UK, the government response from the UK regulator confirms that people should continue to receive the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca

See also Patient.info: AstraZeneca vaccine: is it safe and does it cause blood clots?

Conspiracy question? Or valid concern?

Which is more likely? That people with an interest in halting distribution of the ‘free’ vaccine are stirring up fear – or that just this ‘free’ vaccine is causing blood clots, and all the others (researched in the same time frame, developed in the same way, manufactured with the same process) are 100% safe?
(Hint: All medicines have potential side effects, some of which, in a minority, can be fatal. CDC on Pfizer vaccine)

So, according to a report on Gravitas, the best part of 30 million people in India have had the AstraZeneca vaccine, and of these only 0.00025% were hospitalised due side effects (any side effects), and while 71 people died after the getting vaccine there is said to be no connection between the two. (i.e. Correlation is not causation, people die every day anyway)

Makes no odds to me in some respects, the world is overpopulated so I’m routing for the virus, but from a ‘lives matter’ point of view, how many people DIDN’T and WON’T die (just in India) because they had the vaccine? And how many did or will die of Covid-19 in those countries that halted the vaccinations?

Feature image shared on Pixabay by ‘whitesession’ and flagged Vaccination Impfspritze Medical Doctor Health.

Anyone else think that someone it about to be injected with air in that photo!?

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