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EU regulators probing whether the Pill was behind blood clots linked to AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine

Taking the contraceptive pill and smoking may have been behind blood clots found in people who had the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, experts believe.

European medical regulators are investigating what triggered the handful of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CSVT) cases. But the bloc’s health chiefs have yet to make any conclusions. 

More than a dozen EU nations shunned the vaccine last week after the link emerged, despite assurances from their own safety watchdogs and the World Health Organization that the jab was safe and that blood clots weren’t occurring more than usual.  

Britain’s own medicines inspectors are also analysing the link between the vaccine and CSVT. Last week officials announced five inoculated Brits had been struck down by the dangerous condition.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which polices the safety of drugs in Britain, insists the risk of developing the rare brain blood clot after getting vaccinated is tiny — occurring once in every million jabs dished out.

For comparison, the risk from the contraceptive pill of developing any clot is higher — with around one in 1,600 women being affected each year.

Smoking is also known to pose a greater risk of blood clots, because it can make platelets in the veins and arteries – which trigger clots – stick together.  

Emer Cooke, who heads up the European Medicines Agency (EMA), said they were investigating whether the contraceptive pill and smoking were behind the clots

More than a dozen European countries were forced into a humiliating U-turn last week after regulators again ruled the AstraZeneca jab was safe and effective to use

A woman receives her Covid vaccine

More than a dozen European countries were forced into a humiliating U-turn last week after regulators again ruled the AstraZeneca jab was safe and effective to use

WHAT IS ‘CSVT’? 

Cerebral sinus vein thrombosis (CVST)  occurs when the vein that drains blood from the brain is blocked by a blood clot, resulting in potentially deadly bleeding on the brain.

Symptoms can quickly deteriorate from a headache, blurred vision and faintness to complete loss of control over movement and seizures.

According to Britain’s regulators, CSVT is so rare that experts aren’t even sure how common it is in the general population.

MHRA chief Dr June Raine said the blood clots in the vaccinated patients could also have been caused by Covid itself, rather than the vaccine.

John Hopkins University estimates CSVT affects five in a million people in the US every year, which would suggest 330 patients in Britain suffer from the condition annually.

According to the university, it can affect patients with low blood pressure, cancer, vascular diseases and those prone to blood clotting. Head injuries can also trigger the condition.

If a link between the AstraZeneca vaccines and the clots is ever proven, it is unlikely to mean the vaccine will be suspended because the cases are so rare.

Instead, regulators would insist patients are told about the potential side-effect, like they are for other day-to-day drugs such as paracetamol and the Pill. 

There are no figures on how often the Pill or smoking causes CSVT because it is so rare. 

Experts say, however, the AstraZeneca vaccine is ‘safe and effective’, and Britons should not be concerned when they get the jab.

European countries including France and Germany were forced into a humiliating U-turn last week when they gave the jab the green light again after the EMA declared it was safe to use. 

There have been 18 cases of CSVT recorded in Europe out of the more than 20million people vaccinated. Most of these were in women under 55 years old.

All of Britain’s five cases of CSVT associated with the jab were in men aged between 19 and 59, who had no underlying conditions.

EU regulators revealed they would investigate whether the contraceptive pill and smoking were behind the cases at an meeting with the bloc’s top health bosses.

Its chief executive, Emer Cooke, reiterated the risk of blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine was lower than would be expected in the population. 

She said: ‘This is not an unexpected situation. When you vaccinate millions of people its inevitable rare or serious instances of illnesses will be detected after vaccination.’

It comes as tensions with the EU rose again today amid reports the bloc is battling with the UK over 29million AstraZeneca doses in Italy — with Brussels unveiling plans to block exports.

The European Commission is set to defy anxiety over undermining legal contracts and publish new proposals widening the criteria for restricting exports.

EU sources suggested Britain will be put squarely in the crosshairs, as the plan will specify that supplies could be affected if they are bound for countries with higher vaccination rates than the bloc.

Five people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK have developed cerebral sinus vein thrombosis. It occurs when the vein that drains blood from the brain (shown) is blocked by a blood clot, resulting in potentially deadly bleeding on the brain

Five people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK have developed cerebral sinus vein thrombosis. It occurs when the vein that drains blood from the brain (shown) is blocked by a blood clot, resulting in potentially deadly bleeding on the brain

There are extraordinary report today that the two sides are battling over 29million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine being held at a plant in Italy. According to Italian paper La Stampa the huge stocks were earmarked for the UK, but discovered by the authorities after a tip-off from Brussels.

However, UK government sources insisted the claims are ‘not true’ and the supply figures being cited are ‘insane’.

The wrangling comes amid mounting panic in Brussels at its shambolic rollout. Hundreds of people from the Republic are said to have been trying to book jabs in Northern Ireland, where availability is far better.

Boris Johnson risked fuelling the row last night by suggesting to Tory MPs that ‘greed’ was responsible for the UK being so far ahead — although he quickly tried to retract the comment, realising it might cause anger. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk