Dr Camilla Stoltenberg, head of Norway’s public health institute FHI, is asking those vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine to be on guard for four symptoms of side-effects that can be dangerous. FHI is, meanwhile, maintaining its supension of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Norway even though European authorities have cleared it for use.
FHI’s warning comes after Norwegian medical experts announced a link they’d found between the vaccine and blood clotting in three otherwise healthy patients. One of them died following a cerebral hemorrhage last weekend, just a few days after another woman in her 30s also had suffered fatal internal hemorrhaging. All were health care workers who’d been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Dr Pål Andre Holme, a professor of medicine at the University of Oslo who has treated some of the patients involved, said it remained unclear how long it took from their first injection of the vaccine until they fell ill. “We’ve seen that in all the cases we’ve handled that symptoms (of blood-clotting or hemorrhaging) appeared from just three days (after their vaccination) to 14 days,” Holme told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Friday.
Stoltenberg is taking the findings of the experts at Norway’s national hospital (Rikshospitalet) and the University of Northern Norway’s hospital in Tromsø very seriously and warns of the following four symptoms:
***a distinct feeling of being ill that doesn’t subside
***distinct pains that don’t go away
***any signs of unusual bruising (black-and-blue marks)
***any signs of bleeding under the skin
“Then they should have a medical check, and follow that up with blood tests to measure blood platelets,” Holme told NRK.
He and his colleagues contend that the AstraZeneca vaccine has set off a powerful immune response in their patients that in turn led to blood clotting and a sharp reduction in blood platelets. Similar cases have occurred in other countries but since the numbers are so small, the European Medical Agency (EMA) cleared ongoing use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine on Thursday. They deemed it to be both safe and effective, with its benefits outweighing the risks.
Newspaper VG later reported dissension within the EMA, however, and EMA researcher Sabine Strauss confirmed on Thursday that the brand-new findings of the medical team in Oslo had not been included in EMA’s evaluation. She said the cases of hemorrhaging in Norway had been considered, “but if this is a study published today, we haven’t seen it yet.”
Stoltenberg of FHI, which is responsible for Norway’s vaccination program, has said her institute continues to examine its further strategy for use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with a report due next week.