An EAST LANCASHIRE DOCTOR has opened up about the safety of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine- and the blood clot symptoms you need to look out for.

This comes after doctors have been urged to watch out for signs of stroke in people receiving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after three young patients were admitted to hospital and one died.

Experts, including from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at University College London (UCL) Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, told how two women in their 30s and a man in his 40s suffered clots in their large arteries, leading to ischaemic stroke.

The team said the NHS must look out for patients with ischaemic stroke (where blood clots block arteries) within about one month of vaccination, saying they should be “urgently evaluated” for a very rare syndrome called vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (VITT).

According to the NHS Covid-19 vaccination and blood clotting guidance, this is seen more often in younger people and tends to occur between 4 days and 4 weeks following vaccination.

Doctor Abdul Mannan, from Hazelvalley Family Practice in Rossendale, maintained that blood clots after getting the AstraZeneca vaccine are rare- and shouldn’t stop people from getting vaccinated.

Lancashire Telegraph: Doctor Abdul MannanDoctor Abdul Mannan

The doctor, who contracted developed Covid-19 himself and documented his symptoms and recovery in a video diary, also detailed the blood clot symptoms that people should be aware of after getting the vaccine.  

He said: “The risk of getting a clot from the vaccine is actually very small.

“The consequence of getting Covid-19 is much greater than the harm a vaccine could cause.”

According to data from The British Heart Foundation (figures relevant up to 19 May) there were 332 reports of people developing rare blood clots which were linked to low platelet levels after receiving a first dose of the Oxford/ AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK. 

These 332 cases of blood clots were after over 34.7 million total doses of the vaccine; Of the 332 people who developed blood clots, 58 died.

Doctor Mannan added that people need to consider the bigger picture, adding that certain groups of people, such as a woman on the contraceptive pill, have a much greater chance of developing a blood clot than those taking the vaccine.

He explained: “While the risk of developing a blood clot is slightly higher than average person who hasn’t taken the vaccine- but it’s far smaller than the risk associated with a woman taking the contraceptive pill or even just an adult man living their everyday life.”

While the risk of developing serious Covid complications is much lower in younger people, Doctor Mannan explained that those under 29 should still make sure to get vaccinated.

He said: “Your chance of getting the virus is still there.

“There also is emerging evidence that people who are vaccinated are less likely to pass it on and spread the virus- so you are actually protecting your parents, grandparents and other vulnerable people by getting the vaccine.”

What blood clot symptoms should people look for?

According to Doctor Mannan, there are a few different types of blood clots to look out for- each with their own warning signs and symptoms.

He said: “You might get a clot in the leg- it will typically swell up, go red, it can go warm you might develop a cramping or throbbing pain… a lot of the time this will be a one-sided pain.

“The same can happen in your arms- but it most occurs in the legs.”

The clot can also go into the lungs.

He explained: “This can present as suddenly becoming breathless, you can get sharp pains, it can induce a sudden cough… some people might even cough up blood.”

Dr Mannan also explained the symptoms of a stroke to look for.

He said: “Clots in the brain present as a stroke- generally, you’re not going to get a stroke without first having clots in the lungs or legs and having it travel.

“However, there are rare cases where you get outright strokes.”

Make sure to remember the FAST rule (facial drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties and time).

Doctor Mannan said: “This might impact your facial contours and make you look asymmetrical, arm or leg can go numb, and your speech can slur.”

Here are the blood clot symptoms to be aware of after the vaccine, as listed on the NHS website:

  • a new, severe headache which is not helped by usual painkillers or is getting worse
  • a headache which seems worse when lying down or bending over
  • an unusual headache that may be accompanied by:
    • blurred vision, nausea and vomiting
    • difficulty with your speech
    • weakness, drowsiness or seizures
  • new, unexplained pinprick bruising or bleeding
  • shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain

Further information can be found at NHS.UK.

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