The death of a 48-year-old woman who developed blood clots just days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine was “likely” linked to the jab, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has revealed.
“The TGA’s Vaccine Safety Investigation Group (VSIG) met late today and concluded that a recently reported case of thrombosis (blood clots in the arteries and veins) with thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) is likely to be linked to vaccination,” the TGA said in a statement.
“VSIG reviewed a report about a 48-year-old woman who was vaccinated in New South Wales and admitted to hospital with an extensive thromboembolic event and thrombocytopenia (TTS) four days after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine.
“Sadly, this person died in hospital and we extend our sincerest condolences to her family.”
The TGA confirmed the woman was vaccinated prior to the announcement earlier this month that the AstraZeneca vaccine wouldn’t be recommended for people under the age of 50.
The regulator said a review of the woman’s death was complicated by different underlying medical conditions, including diabetes.
Some laboratory results from the patient are still pending, with an autopsy set to be conducted next week.
The TGA said if the test results or autopsy provide an alternative cause of death then VISG would review its decision.
Earlier today, it was revealed the woman worked at the Sanitarium Health Food Company, with the major food brand confirming the death of their employees to NCA NewsWire.
“The company is saddened by the loss of a much loved employee, and we offer our heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and workmates,” it read.
“We understand this case is under investigation by the coroner and the health department.”
The death of the woman prompted the TGA and NSW Health officials to seek clinical information and test results as they try to figure out what caused it.
On Friday morning Ms Berejiklian did a round of interviews on morning shows and said she wasn’t privy to any more information about the case than the public was.
“All I do know is that the federal authorities are looking into these matters to see if there is that link,” she told Nine’s Today show. “And in the meantime we just extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones during this difficult time.”
The federal health department said there had been two confirmed cases where Australians who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine had been sickened with a rare blood clotting disorder known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome or TTS.
That’s out of a total of more than 700,000 people who have received that type of vaccine.
In the UK, where the vaccine rollout has come much further, the ratio of blood clotting cases to jabs is even smaller.
At the beginning of the month the BBC said only 30 blood clotting cases had been reported out of a total of 18 million AstraZeneca vaccine recipients.
Despite the low risk, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advised the federal government last week the AstraZeneca vaccine should mainly be given to people over 50.
Younger people can still get the vaccine, but the consent procedures around the risk of side effects will be updated.
The advice threw the Morrison government’s vaccine plans into disarray and prompted the Prime Minister to scrap an October target to have the entire willing population vaccinated, saying the situation is too volatile to commit to a timeline.
Mr Morrison bet heavily on the AstraZeneca vaccine and has ordered more than 50 million doses of the product, most of which will be made locally in Victoria.
The Pfizer-made vaccine that is considered safer has not been available in large enough quantities to meet Australia’s needs. But the Prime Minister has put orders in for some 40 million doses that the government hopes will arrive by the end of the year.