Journalists are often faced with the problem of reporting events that may affect personal behavior in relation to health. The problem with the AstraZeneca and Oxford University vaccine has re-emerged in the past few weeks after the discovery of clots that can be fatal.
Much fanfare around the events, very rare, and some people might give up on getting vaccinated. In Brazil, about a fifth of the immunization drugs used come from this company, and you can’t choose between Vaxzevria (what a name, huh) or Coronavac – Post staff use the product, which is available on the day.
If there is too little attention and insufficient information, there is a risk that these extraordinary complications will be noticed and treated too late. The art of the journalist is to report, true to the maxim of journalism: there is not too much information, only incorrect, distorted, superficial or ambiguous information.
Accuracy is everything. Therefore, it is appropriate to go ahead and set out what is known about blood clots: In Europe, where the adverse effect was first observed, a total of 222 cases of brain (169) or abdomen (53) thrombosis were recorded as of last Sunday (4) were known in 34 million immunized with at least one dose of the Oxford vaccine.
The adjective “extremely rare” is justified: one event for each group of an average of 153,000 people vaccinated. In some countries the proportion seems to be worse, like in Norway (1:25 thousand) and Germany (1:87 thousand). However, this may be due to differences in the amount of vaccines used and the age profiles recommended locally for the AstraZeneca product.
In the UK, which had injected 20 million doses of Vaxzevria with no age group information by the end of March, the incidence among those immunized was 1 in 250,000. There were 19 deaths there (1: 1 million).
For comparison: the more than 350,000 registered victims of Covid-19 in Brazil mean one death for every quota of 600 people. In traffic, each group of 7,000 Brazilians is roughly counted as one death. Well under the million.
Most cases of thrombosis after the Oxford vaccine occur in women under 65 without knowing why. In fact, only one correlation is currently known between the immunizing agent and the incidence, as it has not been discovered what causes the clot formation that is causing the obstructions.
There is a hypothesis of an immune response similar to the rare and paradoxical one caused by the anticoagulant heparin when the body’s defenses begin to attack blood platelets (thrombocytes), which are important for clotting. These blood cells begin to clump together in various clots throughout the body, dangerously blocking veins and arteries.
Anyone taking Vaxzevria should therefore be aware of symptoms such as swelling or cooling of the leg, severe headache, blurred vision, bleeding and petechiae (spots of blood under the skin). In these cases, it is recommended that you seek help as there are workarounds to stop the process.
The health authorities in Europe and the World Health Organization (WHO) will re-examine the data in the coming days. Until then, the focus will be on continuing to use the Oxford vaccine, as the risk of contracting Covid-19, becoming seriously ill, being intubated and even dying with the coronavirus is incomparably greater.
In fewer words, don’t even think about giving up vaccination. If someone recommends the opposite to you, indicating a danger in vaccination, be suspicious – it is probably an outdated scholarship as even the genius of the genius president has become a vaccine since childhood.
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