Seven people have died from blood clots after receiving AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said Saturday, according to multiple reports.
The agency on Thursday reported 25 new cases of rare blood clots possibly linked to the vaccine, bringing the total number of cases to 30, but did not indicate how many, if any, people had died. MHRA has not received clotting reports following the BioNTech and Pfizer vaccine, it said in its Thursday report.
It's still unclear if the AstraZeneca vaccine is causing the blood clots, or if it's just a coincidence.
MHRA maintains the shots are safe. Seven deaths out of more than 18 million AstraZeneca doses delivered by March 24 still means that adverse outcome possibly related to the shot is extremely rare.
"The benefits … in preventing Covid-19 infection and its complications continue to outweigh any risks and the public should continue to get their vaccine when invited to do so," Dr. June Raine, the chief executive of the MHRA, told the BBC.
Many countries have resumed use of AstraZeneca's vaccine
In March, more than a dozen countries, mostly in Europe, temporarily suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine's rollout due to concerns about its possible link to the rare blood clots, Insider's Barnaby Lane reported.
Many resumed or partially resumed its use after the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization emphasized its safety.
"The benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalization and death, outweigh the risks of side effects," the European Medicines Agency said in a press briefing March 31, echoing what the regulator said in the weeks prior.
As Insider's Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce previously reported, the EMA said an expert panel including hematologists, neurologists, and epidemiologists could not identify any specific risk factors including age, gender, or previous medical disorder that raised some people's risk of "these very rare events."
While there are some theories as to why a vaccine could lead to blood clots, none have been proven in this case, EMA said.