AstraZeneca vaccine ‘safe and effective’ says EMA
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Blood clots have been a topic of interest in recent weeks, following investigations into whether the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine may cause blood clots. The UK and European regulators have now concluded the vaccine is safe to use and can significantly help to protect people against Covid-19. Anyone invited to get their vaccine, or those in eligible groups, are urged to book their Covid vaccine appointments as soon as possible.
What does a blood clot feel like?
There are certain symptoms the NHS website states may be indicative of a blood clot, including:
- Throbbing or cramping pain, swelling, redness and warmth in a leg or arm
- Sudden breathlessness, sharp chest pain (may be worse when you breathe in) and a cough or coughing up blood
People who think they have a blood clot should get advice urgently from 111.
However, if someone is struggling to breathe or has passed out, 999 needs to be called immediately or the person needs to go to A&E.
DVT (deep vein thrombosis) refers to a blood clot in a vein, usually in the leg.
According to the NHS website, symptoms of DVT in the leg include:
- 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 can also occur in the arm or tummy if that’s where the blood clot is.
People who think they may have DVT are advised to ask for an urgent GP appointment or call 111.
But people who have symptoms of DVT along with breathlessness or chest pain should call 999 or go to A&E.
When a blood clot in the vein breaks loose, it can travel through the bloodstream and get caught in the lungs.
When this happens, it’s called a pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening and so requires urgent treatment.
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Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include pain in the chest or upper back, difficulty breathing or coughing up blood.
The NHS website says people with these symptoms need to see a GP.
Someone with these symptoms may also have symptoms of DVT, such as pain, redness or swelling in the leg.
If someone has severe difficulty breathing, their heart is beating very fast or they have passed out, they need to go to A&E or call 999 immediately.
Full advice on blood clots can be found on the NHS website here.
Does the Covid vaccine cause blood clots?
Over the past few weeks, several European countries have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over fears it causes blood clots.
However, on Thursday it was concluded that the vaccine is “safe and effective” by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The European regulator said it “cannot rule out definitively” a link between “a small number of cases of rare and unusual but very serious blood clotting disorders” and the vaccine, though investigations are ongoing.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is still being rolled out in the UK and people are being urged to get the jab to protect themselves from Covid-19.
Boris Johnson told Thursday’s Downing Street press briefing: “The Oxford jab is safe and the Pfizer jab is safe.
“The thing that isn’t safe is catching Covid which is why it’s so important that we all get our jabs as soon as our turn comes.”
Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, said there was “no evidence that blood clots in veins is occurring more than would be expected in the absence of vaccination, for either vaccine.”
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