The risk of a serious blood clot from AstraZeneca jab has doubled in a fortnight, new data show. Cases have gone up from 79 to 168 and deaths from 19 to 32. The chance of having a clot following vaccination has gone from one in 250,000 to one in 126,582.
“Here we analyzed 454,443 SARS-CoV-2 spike genes/proteins and 14,427 whole-genome sequences. We demonstrated that the early variant B.1.1.7 may not have evolved spontaneously in the United Kingdom or within human populations. Our extensive analyses suggested that Canidae, Mustelidae or Felidae, especially the Canidae family (for example, dog) could be a possible host of the direct progenitor of variant B.1.1.7.”
India has been added to a “red list” of countries from which most travel to the UK is banned over fears of a new Covid variant [B.1.617], the health secretary has said. From 04:00 BST on Friday, most people who have travelled from India in the last 10 days will be refused entry. British or Irish passport holders, or people with UK residence rights, will be allowed in but must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.
People in the UK have been infected with Covid-19 more than once thanks to catching different variants of the coronavirus. Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for NHS Test and Trace, said there had been cases where people had become reinfected by different strains of the coronavirus. “We have seen some people who have had their first dose of vaccine who have had the South African variant and the variant that arose in Kent,” she told BBC’s the Andrew Marr show. “You can see that they’re not as good against the South African variant as they are against our own (variant) B117 at preventing infection and transmission.”
Professor Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia, analysed publicly available information on new variant numbers last Saturday and again yesterday and found that the number of genetically-confirmed Indian strain cases had risen in a week from 79 to 160. ‘That’s a big jump,’ he said.
Because only around a quarter of identified Covid cases undergo genomic sequencing to identify the strain, he feared the true figure was at least 400.
Prof Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, told the Guardian that the arrival of the India variant was potentially worrying. He said: “These two escape mutations working together could be a lot more problematic than the South African and Brazilian variants which have only got one escape mutation. “It might be even less controlled by vaccine than the Brazilian and South African variants.”
The variant featured two “escape mutations” – E484Q and L452R – that “are causing people to be concerned. “There’s laboratory evidence that both of these are escape mutations. Basically, applying what we know about other human coronaviruses would suggest that this is going to be even less controlled by vaccine. But we don’t know that for certain at the moment”
“Up to 5 April 2021, the MHRA had received Yellow Card reports of 100 cases of major thromboembolic events (blood clots) with concurrent thrombocytopenia (low platelet counts) in the UK following vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. These events occurred in 61 women and 39 men aged from 18 to 85 years and the overall case fatality rate was 22% with 22 deaths.
Of these, 99 reports were associated with the first dose of the vaccine and a single report followed a second dose, although this individual had medical conditions that could have caused the events. Fifty individuals had cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (average age 46 years) and 50 had other major thromboembolic events (average age 52 years) with concurrent thrombocytopenia.”
12th March 2020 – Boris Johnson: “many more people will lose loved ones to coronavirus” (Guardian).
13th April 2021 – Boris Johnson: “sadly we will see more hospitalisation and deaths” (Guardian)
People who have had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine are seeking help at A&E despite having only mild side-effects such as headaches, in the wake of the controversy over whether the jab causes blood clots.
Emergency medicine doctors in England told the Health Service Journal that a growing but unspecified number of people who were anxious after having the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab were coming to A&E units, some apparently after being advised to do so by a GP.
Dr Katherine Henderson, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, confirmed the trend to the Guardian.
“It’s definitely a thing. Colleagues across England are reporting this. All A&E departments are seeing an increase in the number of people reporting concerns after having the AstraZeneca vaccine. We are seeing people with mild headaches and persistent headaches but who are otherwise alright.
Primary school children aged 5-12 are now the group with the highest COVID infection level in the UK, at 0.41%. School re-openings are thought to be the reason why children have become the most infected group.
The lowest rate of COVID infection is now in those aged 65 and above, at 0.09%.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that democratic governments can make vaccinations obligatory, in a landmark judgement rejecting complaints brought by Czech families penalised for refusing compulsory jabs for their children.
“The… measures could be regarded as being ‘necessary in a democratic society'” the court ruled, saying that the Czech health policy was consistent with the “best interests” of children.
Our opinion: ** Is there an easier or quicker way of antagonising parents in the middle of a global viral pandemic than encouraging mandatory vaccinations? We can’t think of one. Expect severe blowback **
People under 40 could be asked to take an alternative jab to AstraZeneca, members of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have said. The Government’s independent scientific advisers said a fresh risk/benefit assessment of the vaccine in different age brackets would be made before the rollout reaches those below the age of 40.
Prof Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the JCVI said that safety data will be examined “in scrupulous detail” before the programme is rolled out to the under 40s.
Early evidence indicates that lung damage occurs in approximately 20% of patients discharged from hospital, but the effects on people who experience long-Covid in the community are currently unclear.
A new study, called the UK Interstitial Lung Disease Long-COVID19 (UKILD-Long COVID) study, will investigate whether post-COVID-19 lung damage will improve or worsen over time, how long it will last, and the best strategies for developing treatments.
Matthew Gordon, 44, from Bristol, who was hospitalised with COVID-19 in January 2020, said of his experience: “Nearly two months on, I’m slowly recovering. The coughing has stopped, which is the greatest relief, and it’s no longer a struggle to breathe. However, my muscle strength is still very weak and doing mild exercise such as jogging, or even walking while talking, can make me short of breath. My latest review with the respiratory consultant a couple of weeks ago found there was still some slight crackling on my lungs and my lung capacity was reduced but had improved since January.