The 48-year-old woman died four days after receiving the AstraZeneca jab. Photo / Getty Images
A new report from the Therapeutic Goods Administration has shed light on the death of a 48-year-old Australian woman who died four days after receiving the AstraZeneca jab.
The review conducted by the Vaccine Safety Investigation Group said a woman from the Central Coast of NSW had an extensive thromboembolic event, which resulted in blood problems in the arteries and veins and later died in hospital. The ABC has identified the woman as 48-year-old Genene Norris.
Norris is the third Australian case of clots after the release of AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been administered more than 885,000 times in Australia. The first two cases are currently recovering in the hospital.
A statement issued by the family said the 48-year-old was a “fun, loving and happy character”.
“Everyone who knew Genene talked about her fun loving, happy character and her sense of service to those around her. Genene’s dedication to our family was profound and gave her a lot of fun,” read a Norris family statement.
“Her death leaves a gaping gap in our family. We can not believe she was with us this week last week and now she is gone.
“We want to thank the medical staff who did everything to save Genene. At the moment, we know as much as the public knows when further medical investigations need to take place.
“We thank you for your understanding and respect for our privacy as we mourn our deep loss.”
Experts said the review was “complicated by the patient’s underlying medical conditions, including diabetes, some other medical conditions as well as some atypical features”.
“The total number of reports received for blood clots after vaccination so far has not exceeded the expected background for the more common types of blood clots in Australia,” the review said, released on Friday evening.
“These can occur every day in about 50 Australians separately for vaccination and are not related to the very rare TTS coagulation disorder.”
Professor John Skerritt of the Therapeutic Good Association said conditions that put people at risk for the thromboembolic reaction are very rare, with a rate of one in 300,000 in Australia.
“Clearly, we can not describe too many problems regarding the clinical conditions of the lady for reasons of personal privacy,” he said in a press conference on Saturday.
“As the minister indicated, she was isolated for the decision and the announcement by the government that the Pfizer vaccine was above 50.
“There were these antibodies that normally cause platelets to fall in number. These antibodies were missing in (Norris’) case. It was an atypical case and this problem is being investigated further.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the news should not deter Australians from getting the vaccine, and reminding people of their “happy position” compared to other parts of the world.
“To see these global case numbers above 800,000 on some days and at 700,000 on many days reminds us that we are in a safe and happy position that cannot be presumed or guaranteed and that is why vaccination remains so important and we have set the medical advice and safety above all, “he said.
Experts in the field have responded quickly to the growing fears about side effects of vaccines.
Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Australian National University Sanjaya Senanayake called for rest, saying the relatively low risk of clotting at this stage should not be a deterrent to taking vaccines.
“At this stage, we have not found any pre-existing condition that can be linked to a risk of clotting,” Senanayake said. ABC News Saturday morning.
“The short answer is no. Things can change in a week’s time. At this stage, we have not made any recommendations for people who have previously had clots to avoid the vaccine.”
In comparison, Europe has recorded 86 cases of coagulation of more than 25 million vaccinations.
Senanayake also made clear the fact that Covid-19 “often causes clotting” at a rate much higher than those currently received from the vaccine.
“The government pointed to a study by the University of Oxford and pointed out that Covid-19 often also causes clotting. In fact, there may be a much higher chance of clotting of what we know than the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under 50. Changes that the calculation at all? ”he continued.
“If you’re in CUid in the ICU, you have one in four chances of developing clots.”
Dr. Daniel Gregson, a university professor at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, said most people are “much better off with a vaccine” but suggested lowering the age for AstraZeneca to as low as 35.
“Sure based on risks, most people are much better off with a vaccine,” Dr. Gregson said via Yahoo News,
“You can certainly easily drop it to 45, if not 35.”
Australia will not give the AstraZeneca vaccine to most people under the age of 50 after confirmation of a “rare but serious risk” of fatal blood clots, the Prime Minister confirmed last week.
Where possible, under 50s will only receive the Pfizer vaccine.
The change in advice follows a number of blood clots that have formed in a small number of younger people after receiving the vaccine.
“The use of the Pfizer vaccine is preferable to the AstraZeneca vaccine in adults under 50 years of age who have not yet received the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine,” Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said in a snap.
The VSIG advises people to seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms such as:
- A severe or persistent headache or blurred vision
- Shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling of the legs or persistent abdominal pain,
- Unusual skin bruises and / or round spots behind the injection.