• Thursday, July 25, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

AstraZeneca admits its Covid vaccine can cause rare side effect

AstraZeneca faced a class-action lawsuit alleging that its vaccine caused death and serious injury in multiple cases.

This development could potentially pave the way for a significant legal payout by the pharmaceutical company. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has admitted for the first time that its Covid-19 vaccine can cause a rare side effect.

“AstraZeneca can, in very rare cases, cause TTS,” the company acknowledged in legal documents submitted to a court in February, reported The Telegraph.

TTS stands for Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome. It is a rare condition characterised by blood clots forming in the body combined with low platelet levels.

The Oxford–AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, marketed as Covishield and Vaxzevria among other names, is a viral vector vaccine created by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca to combat Covid. Initially authorised for use in the UK in December 2020, it has since been extensively deployed globally.

This development could potentially pave the way for a significant legal payout by the company.

The pharmaceutical company faced a class-action lawsuit alleging that its vaccine caused death and serious injury in multiple cases. The first case, filed by Jamie Scott last year, claimed permanent brain injury after receiving the vaccine in April 2021, reported the newspaper.

Fifty-one cases were filed in the high court, with potential damages reaching £100 million. The admission could have led to payouts if the company had acknowledged the vaccine’s role in specific cases of illness and death.

The government pledged to cover AstraZeneca’s legal fees but did not intervene in the lawsuits. Kate Scott, Jamie Scott’s wife, hoped the admission would accelerate resolution, emphasising the need for compensation and closure, reported The Telegraph.

“AstraZeneca does not accept that TTS is caused by the vaccine at a generic level,” the company stated in a response letter to Scott’s lawyers in May 2023.

AstraZeneca maintained the vaccine’s safety, pointing to updated product information in April 2021 acknowledging the potential for TTS. Independent studies affirmed the vaccine’s effectiveness, saving millions of lives globally in the first year of rollout.

The vaccine’s adverse effect prompted a shift in UK policy, offering alternative jabs to under-40s due to risk considerations. Lawyers argued the vaccine’s safety was not as expected, filing suits under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.

Official figures suggested at least 81 deaths in the UK linked to adverse reactions, with most recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine, reported the newspaper. The government’s compensation scheme drew criticism for perceived inadequacy.

AstraZeneca contested claims against it, asserting the vaccine’s positive benefit-risk profile. Despite legal challenges, the company remained a prominent player in the pharmaceutical industry.

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