Five Australians over the age of 50 have developed blood clotting and low platelets after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine in the past week, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has confirmed.
The TGA says it is also looking into three other reports of blood clotting in the last week but is yet to make a determination on them.
The five new cases were in a 74-year-old man and a 51-year-old woman from Victoria, a 66-year-old man from Queensland, a 64-year-old woman from Western Australia and a 70-year-old man from Tasmania.
TGA head Professor John Skerritt said many of those had “serious and significant” underlying health conditions, stressing blood clotting following vaccination remained a rare event.
“The evidence from TGA and the advice from ATAGI, the advisors to governments, that the benefits of this vaccine for the over 50s still very significantly exceeds the risks,” he said on Thursday.
The latest figures take the total confirmed number of blood clot cases linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine since the start of the rollout to 11.
Four of those have already left hospital, the TGA said in a statement.
“Encouragingly, of the five cases reported in our statement on 23 April 2021 as hospitalised with thrombosis with thrombocytopenia following vaccination, four have now been discharged from hospital and are either at home or have returned to work,” it said.
On Thursday, Tasmanian authorities announced a 70-year-old man was in hospital in a stable condition after reporting clotting symptoms seven days after receiving the vaccine.
Earlier that day, Queensland authorities announced a 66-year-old man was in intensive care in a Townsville hospital with thrombosis linked to the vaccine.
The man received the first dose of the vaccine on 30 March and then developed abdominal pain, before being admitted to the Townsville hospital.
Professor Skerrit said given the AstraZeneca vaccine was only being administered to those over 50, the results were not surprising.
“If you’re only giving a medicine or vaccine to people over 50 that’s the only group where you’ll see an adverse event,” he said.
As of 2 May, approximately 1.4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered.