I got the AstraZeneca vaccine should I be worried?

If you read my post To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate, you know that I received the AstraZeneca vaccine this week. Before I got it I wondered if it was the right one for me. It’s about 62% effective 2 weeks after it’s administered, far less than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines but still better than your average flu shot. Medical experts have been quoted saying, it doesn’t matter which vaccine you receive, just get one of them, they all save lives and trips to the ICU.

So I went ahead and got the shot.

In the few days prior to that I had seen a few reports of blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine but they were basically dismissed by the experts as nothing to really worry about. Since my shot, those news stories have ramped up.

Several European countries have suspended their use of the vaccine while tests are run to determine if in fact blood clotting or thrombosis is a real risk.

By the time you read this it may be a mute point, the question may already be resolved. But let’s look at the evidence so far.

The EU Medicines Regulator or EMA says there is no indication that the AstraZeneca vaccine is linked to a higher risk of blood clots. The number of cases identified is actually lower than the rate of thrombosis in the general population. The EMA reports 30 cases of thromboembolic events among 5 million Europeans who have been inoculated with that vaccine. AstraZeneca says it has looked at 17 million patients in the EU and the United Kingdom who have received the shot and has found no risk of clotting. While there have been 15 cases of deep vein thrombosis and 22 cases of pulmonary embolism found among those who have received the vaccine, that is a far lower rate than the number of cases among the general population. There have been 2 Italians who have died, 1 Austrian and 1 Dane but so far, none of those cases have been linked directly to the vaccine.

Some European countries have stopped using the vaccine altogether while others have simply stopped using the vaccine from a specific batch that has been identified as a possible link. All the countries involved admit that this is simply being done out of “an abundance of caution.”

The World Health Organization is encouraging countries not to suspend vaccinations with AstraZeneca saying that the risk of illness or death by not vaccinating people is higher than the risks from approved vaccines.

With more than 300 million doses of all Covid-19 vaccines administered so far, it is remarkable that there have not been more cases of severe complications while we all know the astronomical number of people who have died from the coronavirus.

All vaccines carry a risk of side effects, some minor and some more serious. I was told to expect some swelling and tenderness at the injection site. That didn’t happen. I did get a horrible headache the next day that may or may not have been connected to my vaccination, as well as a general unwell feeling for a couple of days. Experts say it is precisely these symptoms that mean the vaccines are working because they have triggered an immune response in the body. The effects are also said to be stronger after a second dose because your body has built up an even stronger immune response. Not everyone who receives a vaccination will have a reaction and it doesn’t mean their immunity is any less.

Friends have said, “do you wish you had gotten a different vaccine or wish you had waited?” My answer is no, because I’m still here. I have passed any perceived timeline of being at risk of clotting. Other people have told me that they have actually cancelled their vaccination appointments and are going to wait and see.

So if you are weighing the pros and cons of getting the shot, with whatever vaccine is offered to you, do your research. Make up your own mind about what is right for you and for your long term health. Don’t be scared off by the news headlines and end up putting your health at risk by leaving yourself open to the often deadly effects of COVID-19. For now the jury is still out on this one, but stay tuned because we should have a clear answer sooner rather than later, i just hope it isn’t too late for some people who have joined the growing vaccine hesitancy movement.

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TV News Producer (retired), writer, traveler

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Darren Weir

Darren Weir

TV News Producer (retired), writer, traveler

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