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AstraZeneca vaccine investigation underway over reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome cases

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Published on 09 May 2021 / In News and Politics

May 7, 2021 AstraZeneca vaccine investigation underway over reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome cases

AstraZeneca vaccine investigation underway over reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome cases

THE European Union's medicines regulator is reviewing reports of a rare condition affecting the nerves following vaccination with the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus jab.

As part of a regular review of safety reports for the vaccine, the European Medicines Agency's safety committee is analysing data provided on cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, the regulator said. Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare and serious condition that affects the nerves.
The condition causes symptoms such as numbness, weakness and pain, mainly affecting the feet, hands, arms and legs.

It can be treated and most people will make a full recovery.

However it can occasionally be life-threatening and some people are left with long-term problems.
The EMA is also looking into reports of heart inflammation with Pfizer's jab and Moderna's vaccine
The EU's drugs watchdog and other regulators are already reviewing the possibility of rare blood clotting conditions with vaccines, including the AstraZeneca shot.

Some European countries have restricted use of the AstraZeneca jab to older age groups, citing the risks of rare blood clots in younger people.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has launched legal action against the pharmaceutical giant amid a row over jab supplies.

In the UK, under-40s are to be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said there is an "extremely small risk" of people suffering blood clots after having the jab.

But the risk of illness with Covid-19 also drops for younger people as infection rates fall across the country.

The JCVI has advised that another jab should be offered to under-40s without underlying health conditions where an alternative is available, and as long as it does not cause any substantial delays to the vaccination programme.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chairman for JCVI, said: "Safety remains our number one priority.

"We have continued to assess the benefit/risk balance of Covid-19 vaccines in light of UK infection rates and the latest information from the MHRA on the extremely rare event of blood clots and low platelet counts following vaccination.

"As Covid-19 rates continue to come under control, we are advising that adults aged 18 to 39 years with no underlying health conditions are offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, if available and if it does not cause delays in having the vaccine

The advice is specific to circumstances in the UK at this time and maximises use of the wide portfolio of vaccines available.

"The Covid-19 vaccines have already saved thousands of lives and the benefit for the majority of the population is clear - if you are offered the vaccine, you should take it."

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