The European Union drug regulator said Wednesday that it found a "possible link" between the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and a rare clotting disorder but declined to impose any new age restrictions, saying the benefits of the shot still outweigh risks. Its UK counterpart, however, said it would offer adults under 30 the choice of another product. The European Medicines Agency described the clots as "very rare" side effects. It said most of the cases reported have occurred in women under 60 within two weeks of vaccination—but based on the currently available evidence, it wasn't able to identify specific risk factors, reports the AP.
"The reported cases of unusual blood clotting following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine should be listed as possible side effects of the vaccine," said Emer Cooke, the agency's executive director. But "the risk of mortality from COVID is much greater than the risk of mortality from these side effects." The BBC reports on figures given by Dr. June Raine, the head of Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Through the end of March, 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been administered, and 79 cases of rare blood clots were reported after the first dose; 19 of those people died. The EMA noted that "one plausible explanation for the combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is an immune response, leading to a condition similar to one seen sometimes in patients treated with heparin," per Reuters. (Read more AstraZeneca stories.)