CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Drug maker AstraZeneca has come under scrutiny for its COVID-19 vaccine. While it is not approved for use in the United States, reports connecting it to a small number of rare blood clots in Europe have raised concerns across the globe.
“The safety concern is that there's been a very low incident of blood clots in patients that have received […] the AstraZeneca vaccine,” said University of Virginia infectious disease expert Dr. William Petri. “It's one specific kind of clot, which makes one concerned about whether that could be a side effect since it's not your everyday blood clot.”
Dr. Petri said the incidence of this one form of blood clot is no different in people who got the vaccine than would be expected in the population in general. According to AstraZeneca, 40 people out of the 17 million who received their vaccine developed blood clots. The AstraZeneca vaccine was sidelined in nearly a dozen countries in Europe, including Germany, France and Italy, over fears of a causal relationship between the vaccine and blood cloths.
The FDA has not given emergency use authorization for the AstraZeneca vaccine in the United States, but Dr. Petri said the U.S. may reach herd immunity with the currently approved Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.