AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine has today been linked to another rare bleeding disorder.
Researchers say that about one in 100,000 people who get jab will suffer from idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).
The condition can cause minor bruising around the body and can leave some with a purple dotted rash.
Nearly 350 Britons have been beaten down with a separate rare coagulation disorder after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed by Oxford University.
The complication – blood clots that occur along with abnormally low platelet levels, cells that cause blockages – scared health chiefs to advise under-40s get another jab.
ITP can cause minor bruising around the body and can leave some with a purple dotted rash called petechiae (pictured)
Edinburgh University experts who revealed the link to ITP did not say how many people also developed blood clots.
But they said it was likely to be a ‘manifestation’ of the biggest worrying complication.
Researchers discovered the link after analyzing data from 5.4 million people in Scotland between December 8 and April 14. At the time, 1.7 million had received their first dose of Oxford jab, while 800,000 had the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.
They examined vaccinated individuals’ health records to identify any previous problems with ITP, coagulation or bleeding disorders, and compared these with people who had not been vaccinated.
No cases were linked to Pfizer’s Covid jab, which works in a completely different way.
They said the finding of this jab – which has been administered 24.6 million times in the UK – was ‘reassuring’.
What is idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)?
ITP is a condition that causes the immune system to destroy platelets.
Platelets are blood cells that clot the blood and are needed to prevent bleeding and bruising after injury.
People can get ITP after a virus, vaccine or certain drugs, but the cause is often unknown. It is usually diagnosed with a blood test.
Between 3,000 and 4,000 people in the UK have ITP.
A person who does not have enough platelets may get very bruised or may not be able to stop the bleeding when it is cut.
Other common symptoms include petechiae – a stinging rash of blood stains that may appear red, purple or brown – bruising and nosebleeds.
A normal platelet count is between 100 and 400 thousand million per Liter of blood.
Those with ITP are unlikely to develop bleeding symptoms unless the platelet count is below 20,000 million. Liter of blood.
ITP in children almost always gets better without any treatment.
However, adults are usually prescribed a short course of steroids to treat the condition.
For AstraZeneca jab, the risk of developing ITP lasted for almost four weeks after being jabbed.
There is no evidence that AstraZeneca’s shocks caused blood clots despite rising allegations, and it remains under investigation.
Experts also insist that the benefits of jab outweigh the risks for the vast majority of adults.
UK health chiefs advised only those under the age of 40 were given another vaccine due to their low risk of becoming seriously ill combined with the very low incidence of Covid at the time.
The recommendation of JCVI, which advises No10, may change if cases get out of control due to the Indian variant.
Researchers in Edinburgh said that the risk of ITP after AstraZeneca’s jab – calculated to be 11 per. 1 million doses – equivalent to the prices seen for the MMR vaccine.
Professor Aziz Sheikh, study author, argued that the ‘very small risk’ of ITP, coagulation and bleeding should be seen ‘in the context of the very clear benefits’ of jab, which has repeatedly been shown to save lives.
Dr. Will Lester, a consultant haematologist at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust who was not involved in the study, said ITP is often ‘manageable’ and the risk of death due to the condition ‘very rare’.
He insisted that ‘at present there is no evidence’ that any vaccine against Covid is more risky than another.
Patients who developed ITP had a mean age of 69 years and often had at least one underlying health condition, such as heart disease or diabetes.
The first blood clots to alert people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine were those that appeared in the veins near the brain of younger adults in a condition called CSVT (cerebral sinus venous thrombosis).
Since then, however, people have developed blood clots in other parts of their bodies.
All blood clots have occurred next to thrombocytopenia, an abnormally low platelet count – an unusual effect because platelets are usually used by the immune system to build up the blood clots.
In most cases, people recover fully and the blockages are generally easy to treat if seen early, but they can trigger strokes or heart or lung problems if not noticed.
The symptoms depend entirely on where the blood clot is, with brain blockage causing unpleasant headaches. Blood clots in large arteries in the abdomen can cause persistent abdominal pain, and those in the leg can cause swelling in the limbs.
Some countries have decided to stop using jab altogether, with Denmark and Norway choosing to roll it out. Other nations have restricted it to certain age groups.
The Oxford vaccine was approved in the UK in December and is recommended for use in the over 40s
But AstraZeneca’s jab is not the only one believed to cause blood clots. Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, not yet approved in the UK, has been linked to 28 cases in the US out of more than 10.4 million shots.
Researchers in Germany believe that the problem lies in the adenovirus vector – a cold virus that is used so that both vaccines can enter the body.
Academics investigating the issue say the complication is ‘completely absent’ in mRNA vaccines like Pfizers and Moderna because they have a different delivery mechanism.
Experts at Goethe University in Frankfurt and Ulm University in Helmholtz say the AstraZeneca vaccine enters the cell nucleus – a patch of DNA in the middle. By comparison, Pfizer jab enters the fluid around it that acts as a protein factory.
Bits of coronavirus proteins entering the nucleus can break up, and the unusual fragments are then expelled into the bloodstream, where they can trigger coagulation in a small number of people, researchers claim.
The JCVI recommended that anyone under the age of 39 be given a vaccine other than Oxford jab, over concerns about the very low risk of possible blood clot connections. Figures show that over 40 million people have received their first jab in the UK, while over 28 million have received their second