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Weigh up risks of blood clots before giving AstraZeneca vaccine to certain patients, GPs told

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GPs should only give the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine to patients with medical conditions which put them at higher risk of developing blood clots if the benefits outweigh the risks, the UK medicines regulator has said.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued the advice to healthcare professionals regarding while it continues to review a link between the vaccine and rare blood clots.

It has also added to previous advice regarding symptoms for patients to look out for following their Covid vaccination with the AZ vaccine.

The new advice from the MHRA said:

  • Administration of Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in people of any age who are at higher risk of blood clots because of their medical condition should be considered only if benefits from the protection from COVID-19 infection outweighs potential risks.
  • Anyone who experienced cerebral or other major blood clots occurring with low levels of platelets after their first vaccine dose of Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca should not have their second dose. Anyone who did not have these side effects should come forward for their second dose when invited.
  • Pregnancy predisposes to thrombosis, therefore women should discuss with their healthcare professional whether the benefits of having the vaccine outweigh the risks for them.

Meanwhile, ‘anyone who has symptoms four days or more after vaccination is advised to seek prompt medical advice’. These include:

  • a new onset of severe or persistent headache, blurred vision, confusion or seizures
  • develop shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain,
  • unusual skin bruising or pinpoint round spots beyond the injection site.

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Source: Pulse, 7 April 2021

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