AstraZeneca Admits Rare Side Effects of Covishield in Court Documents

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AstraZeneca Admits Rare Side Effects of Covishield in Court Documents

| Updated: April 30, 2024 14:33

AstraZeneca, the British pharmaceutical giant, has acknowledged that its Covid-19 vaccine, Covishield, can cause rare side effects, according to a report by The Telegraph (UK). The vaccine, developed in collaboration with Oxford University during the pandemic and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, has been widely distributed across the country.

The company has stated in court documents that Covishield can lead to a condition causing blood clots and low platelet count in rare instances. This admission comes amidst a class-action lawsuit faced by AstraZeneca in the UK, where it is alleged that the vaccine has caused deaths and severe injuries in several cases. Claimants in as many as 51 cases in the UK High Court are seeking damages amounting to up to 100 million pounds.

The UK government, which has provided legal protection to AstraZeneca, has not yet intervened in the matter.

Jamie Scott, the first complainant in the case, claimed that he suffered a permanent brain injury due to a blood clot after receiving the vaccine in April 2021. This injury has rendered him unable to work and he alleges that his wife was informed thrice by the hospital that he was on the brink of death.

While AstraZeneca has contested these claims, it admitted in a court document in February that Covishield can “in very rare cases, cause TTS”. TTS, or Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome, is a condition that leads to blood clots and a low blood platelet count in humans.

The company stated, “It is admitted that the AZ vaccine can, in very rare cases, cause TTS. The causal mechanism is not known…Further, TTS can also occur in the absence of the AZ vaccine (or any vaccine). Causation in any individual case will be a matter for expert evidence.”

This admission, made in a legal defence to Scott’s claim, could potentially lead to payouts to victims and their grieving relatives. Interestingly, this contradicts the company’s stance in 2023 when it told Jamie Scott’s lawyers that “we do not accept that TTS is caused by the vaccine at a generic level”.

However, AstraZeneca has denied the lawyers’ claims that the vaccine is “defective” and its efficacy “vastly overstated”. Shortly after the vaccine rollout began in 2021, scientists discovered a link between Covishield and a new condition called vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (VITT), which the lawyers claim is a subset of TTS. AstraZeneca does not appear to recognise this claim.

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