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Blood clots found in dead Covishield recipient in Sri Lanka, but no evidence yet of a link

COVID-19 Vaccine

ECONOMYNEXT – A 40-year-of old male resident of Embilipitya who received the Covishield AstraZeneca vaccine two weeks ago died yesterday after being admitted to the Karapitiya hospital in Galle with high fever and a drop in platelets. An autopsy has revealed blood clots in the patient’s vital organs, an official said, though there is no evidence at present of a link between the death and the vaccine.

“The cause of death cannot be confirmed at the moment since we’re still waiting for some reports,” Karapitiya Teaching Hospital Assistant Judicial Medical Officer Dr Samadhi Dandeniya Arachchi told EconomyNext.

“An unusual decrease in blood platelets was observed and blood clotting was seen in some organs,” she added. Asked if it is possible to develop blood clots after death, Arachchi replied in the affirmative but stressed that in this case the clots had appeared before the patient died.

According to Arachchi, the deceased patient did not have a history of non-communicable diseases. She said the body was examined for other viruses such as dengue, which causes blood platelets to drop, but no evidence has been found so far.

“Further investigations are under way to determine if there’s a link between the death and the vaccine,” she added.

The patient was first admitted the Embilipitiyata hospital last Friday (12) from which he was later transferred to the Karapitiya teaching hospital where he was pronounced dead four days later, after the drop in blood platelets was observed.

Several European countries and Myanmar have temporarily suspended the use of the Oxford COVISHELD vaccine after several reports emerged of blood clotting in those who received the jab.

Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands are the latest countries to pause their AstraZeneca rollout. Norway, Denmark and Bulgaria suspended their programmes last week.

On Tuesday (15), the European Union regulator the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said the vaccine is safe and its benefits “outweigh any risks as coronavirus infections and deaths continue.” International media reports indicate the regulator will release results of its investigation into incidents of bleeding, blood clots and low platelet counts in recipients tomorrow (18).

Meanwhile, co-cabinet spokesman Dr Ramesh Pathirana told reporters yesterday that the batch of Oxford COVSHIELD vaccines sent to European countries that reported cases of clotting were unrelated to the Indian-manufactured Covishield vaccines sent to Sri Lanka.

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Reported by Chanka Jayasinghe (Colombo/Mar17/2021)

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