Two blood clotting incidents unrelated to COVID-19 vaccination, Charmaine Gauci says

Two incidents of people who experienced blood clots after taking the AstraZeneca and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were unrelated to the inoculation, Public Health Superintendent says

Two cases of blood clotting reported to the Medicines Authority in people who received the COVID-19 vaccine were unrelated to the inoculation, Charmaine Gauci said.

The Public Health Superintendent said the cases related to two individuals who took the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines respectively.

“The blood clotting incidents, however, were found to be unrelated to the vaccines,” she said.

Asked whether people with a family history of thrombosis should be given an alternative vaccine to AstraZeneca, Gauci said the European Medicines Authority had not contraindicated the vaccine for any particular group.

Earlier this week, the European Medicines Authority said blood clotting caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine was a “very rare occurrence”, insisting the benefits outweighed the risks.

EMA did not suggest age restrictions on the AstraZeneca vaccine, contrary to what has been done in some countries that have stopped its distribution among young people because of the risk of blood clotting.

Following EMA’s decision, Malta’s medicines regulator said there was no scope in changing the roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Malta. The AstraZeneca vaccine in Malta is being given to those under the age of 70.

Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Wednesday no cases of blood clotting linked to the COVID-19 vaccines had been recorded in Malta.

Gauci said the medicines regulator received 119 reports of side effects from people who took the coronavirus vaccine, 77 of which were related to Pfizer and 41 were AstraZeneca. 

Most of these related to fever, fatigue, coughs, and some migraines, all of which are commonly known side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“There's no necessary link. But these side effects would have been observed days within days of the vaccine being administered,” Gauci said.