To date, there has been no vaccination-related death, reported the Federal Office for Health Safety (BASG) in its weekly report on side effects. So far, the agency has reported 48 deaths close to a vaccination against Covid-19 – 46 at BioNTech / Pfizer, one at Moderna, and one at AstraZeneca. Eight cases – six at BioNTech / Pfizer, one at Moderna and one at AstraZeneca – are being investigated.
A connection with the vaccination could be ruled out in three patients on the basis of the autopsy report. In 16 people, the vaccination fell during the incubation period of a Covid 19 disease, during which the victims then died. Another 21 had serious pre-existing conditions that were presumably the cause of death.
In the case of death close to a vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine – this is the 49-year-old patient who died in Lower Austria as a result of severe coagulation disorders – there is currently no evidence of a causal relationship with the vaccination, reported the BASG. The autopsy at Vienna General Hospital is still open, it said on Tuesday on APA request from the hospital. “Based on the known clinical data, this cannot be produced, since thrombotic events in particular are not among the known or typical side effects of the vaccine in question,” said the BASG in its report, which contains the information from December 27, 2020 to March 12, 2021 inclusive . According to current knowledge, the clinical data show “no data or signals of concern to this effect” compared with placebo. An international analysis of the side effect reports is underway.
Natural deaths are also to be expected in older vaccinated patients
According to the authority, “all the necessary investigations are currently running at full speed with the involvement of the respective experts in order to be able to completely rule out a possible connection,” reported the BASG. To be on the safe side, the remaining stocks of the affected vaccine batch were no longer issued and no longer inoculated. “As especially very old people are vaccinated especially at the beginning of the vaccination campaign, it is to be expected that in a temporal connection with the vaccination, naturally-related, ie non-vaccination-related health events will occur as expected”, according to the BASG. The expected number of deaths one week after vaccination is therefore 3.5 per 1,000 for people at risk aged 80 and over. “Based on this so-called background incidence, one death per 290 people in this age group can be expected within a week, regardless of vaccination,” the BASG pointed out.
The side effects were reported as life-threatening in 31 patients – 19 at BioNTech / Pfizer and 12 at AstraZeneca. The state of health was restored in a total of 18 people, 13 more are still being investigated. In 112 people who had been vaccinated, hospitalization was required or extended after a Covid-19 vaccination. This affected 66 patients who were vaccinated with BioNtech / Pfizer, five with Moderna and 41 with AstraZeneca. All of them have already recovered; the investigation has not yet been completed for 46.
At the time of writing, 981,074 vaccinations were recorded electronically. Most of them complained of fever, headache, pain at the vaccination site, tiredness, joint pain, muscle pain, nausea, chills, vomiting or diarrhea after vaccination.
British authorities have not seen any abnormalities so far
Thousands of people in the EU develop blood clots every year for a variety of reasons. The number of such incidents among corona-vaccinated people does not seem to be higher than in the general population, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has held so far in relation to the debate about deaths after vaccination with the Astrazeneca vaccine. In Great Britain, where around eleven million people have already been vaccinated, there were no abnormalities, according to the authorities.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the UK’s medical licensing and regulatory agency for drugs, collects reports of drug and vaccine side effects in the UK. According to the data available to date on the Covid vaccination campaign reported by the daily “Guardian”, by the end of February more blood clots were reported after vaccinations with the Biontech / Pfizer vaccine (38) than after vaccinations with the Astrazeneca vaccine (30) , and in both cases the number was not higher than was generally to be expected among the population.
Blood clots also form naturally
“Such reports are not confirmed side effects of the vaccine,” an MHRA spokesman told the Guardian. “Blood clots can develop naturally and are not uncommon.”
“As far as we know, there is no solid evidence of an increase in thromboembolic events such as blood clots among people who have been vaccinated in the UK,” said Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, a medical association and institute based in London, the Guardian. On the other hand, there is very much data that would suggest that hospital patients with Covid-19 have a far higher risk of blood clots than the rest of the population.
The British-Swedish manufacturer of the Astrazeneca vaccine recently reported 15 incidents of so-called deep vein thrombosis and 22 incidents of pulmonary embolism in 17 million people who had previously received an AZ vaccination. These numbers are “much lower than would naturally be expected in the general population”. In addition, they are similar to the other approved Covid-19 vaccines.
Be concerned about rare thrombosis of the cerebral veins
The use of the Astrazeneca vaccine, which has been temporarily stopped in a number of countries, was justified by individual cases of thrombosis of the cerebral veins. The very rare cerebral vein thromboses or sinus vein thromboses are blood clots in the brain. From there, large venous blood vessels, the sinus veins, transport oxygen-poor blood towards the heart. If a blood clot is blocked, this blood flow is disturbed. There is an increase in pressure in the brain.
Patients with cerebral vein thrombosis complain of headaches, visual disturbances or epileptic seizures, among other things. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, or impaired consciousness. In connection with the suspension of the Astrazeneca vaccinations, the German Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) pointed to increasing malaise after the vaccination, severe and persistent headaches or punctiform skin bleeding.
One cause of a vein thrombosis in the brain can be a genetic predisposition to the bleeding disorder. Other possible triggering factors are hormonal changes, for example due to the pill or pregnancy, infections in the head area, for example in the ear, but also of other types, blood and cancer diseases and drug treatments. The disease is very rare but can be fatal.
According to experts, autoimmune reactions are possible, but very rare
The German immunologist Carsten Watzl believes it is possible that a Covid-19 vaccination can trigger an autoimmune reaction in very rare cases. With regard to the suspended Astrazeneca vaccinations, based on the known information, this is “pure speculation”, according to the head of immunology at the Leibniz Institute for Labor Research at the Technical University of Dortmund.
Basically, there must be a genetic predisposition for an autoimmune disease. “An environmental factor such as an infection or a vaccination cannot cause it alone,” explained Watzl. Such an autoimmune reaction could ensure that the body produces antibodies against its own blood platelets (thrombocytes). According to the scientist, after triggering, it takes one to two weeks for auto-antibodies to form.
The immunologist emphasized: “Even if this were a causal side effect of the vaccination, it would be very rare.” One must now wait for more information on the cases of a special thrombosis that led to the suspension of the Astrazeneca vaccinations. (Apa)