A British woman passed away on the weekend while she was receiving thrombolytic therapy in Cyprus, following her vaccination against COVID earlier this month, with officials admitting a link but unable to pinpoint what exactly may have caused the blood clot.
Local media said a 39-year-old British woman, who was being treated at Nicosia General Hospital with a major blood clot, passed away on the weekend, with Cypriot authorities still unsure whether her death was directly linked to a COVID vaccine she had received three weeks earlier.
The woman, who was vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria vaccine against the novel coronavirus, was initially admitted to Paphos General Hospital earlier this month after feeling unwell.
She was then transferred to Nicosia General due to her serious condition, with doctors applying thrombolytic therapy in an attempt to dissolve a major clot.
EMA had cautioned over rare blood clots but left it up to individual member states to weigh risks and benefits before formulating an inoculation policy
Cypriot health officials said they have forwarded the woman’s medical details to the European Medicines Agency, which will investigate whether her death was directly linked to the vaccine.
Local media said the woman, who had no history of thrombi in her vascular system, had received her first dose of the vaccine on May 6, the same day British authorities had announced people under the age of 40 in the UK were to be offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
EMA had cautioned over very rare blood clots following vaccinations but left it up to individual member states to weigh risks and benefits before shaping their inoculation policies.
London officials at that time advised unvaccinated adults aged 30 to 39, who did not have an underlying health condition, saying they “should be preferentially offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine where this is possible,” citing concerns in that country over links to rare blood clots.
Last month Cypriot health officials said the AstraZeneca vaccine was a safe choice and called on eligible citizens to book appointments online to get the shot, saying EMA had not ordered the withdrawal of Vaxzervia.
Cypriot Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou also went on to criticize some of his EU counterparts, saying member states that did not stick to decisions based on EMA were "causing confusion among citizens.”
But local health expert Leondios Kostrikis, a former member of the government’s pandemic task force committee, argued that citizen concerns were not unreasonable and called on officials in Cyprus to make their position on the AstraZeneca vaccine clear.
Another woman aged 40 is currently being treated in Cyprus after suffering a thromboembolic event, with officials at Nicosia General describing her state as “good.”
But Elena Panagiotopoulou, deputy director of the Pharmaceutical Services at the Ministry of Health, told RIK state television that the second case of thrombosis has raised concern.
"There is a small connection of thrombosis in women under 40 with the AstraZeneca vaccine," Panagiotopoulou said, but health experts in Cyprus stopped short of pointing to a medical mechanism or health factor that could cause the rare blood clot.
“Cyprus is following instructions from the European Medicines Agency and we have notified the agency about the two cases,” Panagiotopoulou said.