EU says AstraZeneca’s vax can trigger rare nerve disorder

Sept. 9, 2021

Europe’s medicine regulator has listed a very rare nerve-damaging disorder as a possible side-effect of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. 

According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) there is a casual relationship between the AstraZeneca shot and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), and they categorized the side-effect to be “very rare,” which is the lowest frequency a side effect can have. The regulatory agency stressed that the shot still outweighs the risks. 

The decision was made after 833 cases of GBS were reported out of 592 million doses of the vaccine given worldwide up to July 31. As a possible explanation, the EMA cited the “combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is an immune response, leading to a condition similar to one seen sometimes in patients treated with heparin (heparin induced thrombocytopenia, HIT).”

AstraZeneca is not the first COVID-19 vaccine maker that has had a warning for potential side-effects of GBS listed. The FDA has also said that J&J’s shot could trigger GBS and rare blood clots. The EMA has also flagged Moderna’s vaccine for being linked to potentially less severe side-effects.