Denmark has reported that two hospital staff members suffered brain hemorrhages and blood clots within two weeks of receiving AstraZeneca vaccines against COVID-19. One has died and the other is seriously ill.
The Danish Medicines Agency is investigating to determine whether the conditions were linked to the vaccines.
“The Capital Region of Denmark can confirm that two of our employees have been admitted with symptoms of blood clots in the brain and cerebral hemorrhage,” a spokesperson said in a statement shared with the Ekstra Bladet newspaper. “One has sadly passed away.”
The disturbing news was reported as nations grapple with whether to trust the AstraZeneca vaccine amid concerns that it may be linked to blood clots and abnormal bleeding.
“Right now we are examining whether this is the exact same disease picture with multiple blood clots, a low count of platelets and hemorrhages,” Tanja Erichsen, a director at the Danish Medicines Agency, said in a radio interview with the Danish national broadcaster DR, The New York Times reported.
Denmark, along with other Scandinavian countries and several European nations, suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this month. But the European Union’s drug watchdog, the European Medicines Agency, issued a statement Thursday saying that it considered the vaccine “safe and effective” but would continue to track results. It also noted that the benefit of the vaccinations in combating COVID-19 outweigh the risks.
“The benefits still outweigh the risks, despite possible link to rare blood clots with low blood platelets,” EMA’s Safety Committee said in a statement.
The death in Denmark is the second reported after an AstraZeneca vaccine. A 60-year-old woman died earlier this month of a blood clot following a vaccine.
She had unusual symptoms after the injection, including a low number of blood platelets and clots in small and large vessels, as well as bleeding, according to the Danish Medicines Agency, Reuters reported.
Norway is also examining two deaths following vaccines.
So far, after millions of vaccinations, the number of bleeding disorders following the injections appears minuscule.
The EMA review covered 20 million people in the U.K. and 30 European countries. It included seven cases of blood clots in multiple blood vessels and 18 cases of a rare condition that is difficult to treat called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, Reuters reported.
AstraZeneca has not yet commented on the Danish cases.
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