A 32-year-old psychologist in Britain developed blood clots and died 10 days after he took his first dose of AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine, a report released by a London coroner on Wednesday found, in a highly rare case of a fatal reaction to the vaccine.
The inquest, which was requested by Charlotte Wright, the widow of Dr. Stephen Wright, found that he died on Jan. 26, 2021, as a result of “unintended consequences of vaccination.” Ms. Wright is suing AstraZeneca.
According to the report, Dr. Wright, of Kent, England, had a stroke and bleeding in the brain, as well as vaccine-induced thrombosis, or blood clots, and thrombocytopenia, a condition that occurs when the platelet level in the blood is abnormally low.
Since 2021, researchers have cited rare cases in which people have developed the blood-clotting syndrome known as TTS after receiving the Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca Covid vaccines, which are similar. The cases typically occur within weeks of vaccination.
Experts still strongly recommend vaccination, saying that although vaccines are associated with certain rare side effects, those risks are dwarfed by the risks of the coronavirus itself.
“It’s really quite rare and, at the end of the day, you need to consider the risks versus the benefits with anything you do,” said Daniel Salmon, director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “And when you look at the vaccines, they’re very safe and very effective.”
He added: “Nothing is risk-free. And if you choose not to get the vaccine, then you’re at greater risk for getting the disease and serious consequences.”
Researchers have estimated that coronavirus vaccines have saved millions of lives, including an estimated 507,000 in the United Kingdom in the first year they were administered.
Dr. Beverley Hunt, a thrombosis expert in London, said that the blood-clotting syndrome was a “very rare event” following the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, estimated to occur in one in 50,000 people under 40 and one in 100,000 over 40.
Dr. Adam Finn, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Bristol, said that very approximate figures suggest that about 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been given in the United Kingdom, with about 200 cases and 40 deaths linked to the blood-clotting syndrome.
Britain curbed the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine for people under 30 in April 2021, citing the risk of rare blood clots.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration limited the use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine in May 2022 to adults who cannot or who refuse to get the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, also citing the risk of rare blood clots.
AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine has not been approved for use in the United States, and last year the company withdrew its application for F.D.A. approval.
In Australia, the country’s Department of Health and Aged Care described TTS as a rare syndrome that had occurred in around two to three people per 100,000 who had been given the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Symptoms — including severe, persistent headache and blurred vision — typically occur between four and 42 days after a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the department said.
Australia stopped the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine last month, saying newer vaccines better targeted current strains of the virus.
In an analysis released last month of immunization and death records in Britain, researchers found that young women who received at least one dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine might have been more likely to die of a heart problem in the 12 weeks after their vaccination.
The researchers did not find a significantly elevated risk of death in any other subgroup or with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was also widely used in Britain. And the study did not prove that the vaccines caused the deaths.
Andrew Harris, a senior coroner who presented the results of Dr. Wright’s inquest at London Inner South Coroner’s Court on Wednesday, described Dr. Wright’s death as a “very unusual and deeply tragic case,” the BBC reported.
The inquest found that Dr. Wright was a “fit and healthy man” who received his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Jan. 16, 2021. He awoke with a headache on Jan. 25, 2021, and later developed left arm numbness, the inquest found.
He went to a hospital emergency room just after midnight and was found to have high blood pressure and sagittal sinus venous thrombosis. He was transferred to another hospital at about 6:30 a.m. but was unfit for surgery because of bleeding and a very low platelet level. He died at 6:33 p.m.
Ms. Wright said in a message on Instagram that she had asked for the inquest so that she could change her husband’s death certificate, which said he had died of “natural causes,” including a stroke. She said she wanted it to list the vaccine-induced blood syndrome as his cause of death.
“The inquest yesterday confirmed this change, over 2 years later,” Ms. Wright said.
Ms. Wright also said the inquest “allows us to be able to continue our litigation against AstraZeneca. This is the written proof,” the BBC reported.
Mr. Harris told the court that it was “very important to record as fact that it is the AstraZeneca vaccine — but that is different from blaming AstraZeneca,” the BBC reported.
Ms. Wright, who has described herself as a “vaccine widow,” indicated that she was not opposed to vaccines in general. “I think they should be given with appropriate informed consent,” she said.
AstraZeneca, which has named its vaccine Vaxzevria, said in a statement: “We are very saddened by Stephen Wright’s death and extend our deepest sympathies to his family for their loss.” The statement said that patient safety was the company’s highest priority.
“From the body of evidence in clinical trials and real-world data, Vaxzevria has continuously been shown to have an acceptable safety profile and regulators around the world consistently state that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks of extremely rare potential side effects,” the statement said.
Derrick Bryson Taylor contributed reporting.
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