A study by British researchers found that people who contract COVID-19 are 95 times more likely to experience blood clots to the brain than the general population. COVID-19 also causes 10 times more cases of dangerous clotting than either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and eight times more than the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to a non-peer-revewed preprint version of the paper released Thursday.
This study sheds light on just how rare cases of cerebral venous thrombosis or CVT occur from the COVID-19 vaccines compared to the neurological side effects of the disease itself. The research comes days after U.S. government officials called for a pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which works similarly to the AstraZeneca shot.
The recommendation came after six women who received the J & J vaccine developed CVT. One woman in Virginia died and a second women from Nebraska is in critical condition, according to The New York Times.
According to CBS News, researchers at Oxford University in England said their findings suggest that the drugs carry a significantly lower threat of clotting than COVID-19 itself.
“There is more evidence of the vaccine helping people in a dramatic way from the ravages of COVID-19,” said CBS News medical consultant Dr. David Agus.
The Oxford study included over 500,000 coronavirus patients, according to Sky News, and found that CVT occurred in 39 in a million COVID-19 patients, compared with about five in a million people who got the AstraZeneca jab.
While several countries have limited the use of AstraZeneca vaccines to certain age groups, Denmark dropped it entirely. In the United Kingdom, regulators still deem it safe, but have limited the vaccine’s use to those under 30 years of age, who are least risk of becoming seriously ill with the virus, says Sky News.
Some medical experts theorize that may be adenovirus used in both the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines that are causing the rare but serious side effects. Professor Paul Harrison, from Oxford University, said the research highlights “two important conclusions.”
“Firstly, COVID-19 markedly increases the risk of CVT, adding to the list of blood-clotting problems this infection causes,” he said, according to Sky News. “Secondly, the COVID-19 risk is higher than seen with the current vaccines, even for those under 30; something that should be taken into account when considering the balances between risks and benefits for vaccination.”
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