Prosecutors in France are investigating three separate investigations into three deaths allegedly connected with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination. Specific prosecutors, experts in complex investigations involving health-related products, now engage in an initial probe of existing complaints filed in Toulouse, Paris and Nates. To date, these complaints have been managed by regional prosecutors. Plaintiff-side prosecutors out of Paris now seek to determine if there is any causal role between the AstraZeneca vaccine and the deaths. Apparently, an attorney behind the complaints reported to AFP that they first engaged with local prospectors to accelerate the process and then requested that the case be transferred to the central investigation in Paris. TrialSite notes that the risk of a blood clot from the AstraZeneca vaccine is incredibly low—a truly rare occurrence. In fact, a Health Minister from France, Olivier Veran, was quoted earlier this month, “You are 50 times more likely to get a vein blood clot crossing the Atlantic by plane than getting vaccinated with AstraZeneca. Vaccines protect us from COVID-19. Let’s not give into mistrust!” In another European study, a group of researchers find that the risks of even temporary delays of the AstraZeneca vaccine may greatly increase risks of illness and death in the broader community.
Health Authority Edict
French press reports that HAS, France’s national health authority, has recommended that only individuals 55 and older should receive the AstraZeneca vaccine due to reports of deadly blood clots in a very small number of younger individuals vaccinated. TrialSite notes that the overall number of any severe cases associated with AstraZeneca’s vaccine is very low—it’s a rare occurrence. But severe adverse events can happen, and there is a slight risk.
Other health authorities are making similar moves, and as TrialSite reported, Denmark actually banned the vaccine all together.
The case has been led by a local attorney named Etienne Boittin who shared with French press that in one case a 26 year-old medical student died suddenly on March 18 from a blood clot. This apparently occurred just a few days after the vaccination reported France 24.
In another case in Toulouse, a 38-year old social worker apparently received the vaccine and immediately started feeling in bad health. This individual also died from a blood clot. Just this one attorney, Etienne Boittin, is handling fifteen cases involving purported deaths in association with the AstraZeneca vaccine. The lawyer told French press that the majority of cases were “under 60 years.”
Benefits Outweigh Risks
Recently, a group of researchers came together to test the hypothesis that the actual pausing of the AstraZeneca vaccine, even for just a short duration, will lead to actually more deaths due to the faster spread of COVID-19 within a population of susceptible people.
In a recent study published in the journal Chaos, a team of researchers recently came to the conclusion that the benefits of deploying the AstraZeneca vaccine greatly outweigh any associated risks, and relative benefits are wide in scenarios where the reproduction number is larger. The results of that study can be reviewed here.
The researchers used an epidemiological susceptible-exposed-infected-recovered (SEI) model and associated statistical analyses of publicly available data in an effort of estimating the excess deaths coming from suspension of the AstraZeneca jabs as well as those possibly linked to deep vein thrombosis (DVT)-adverse events in France and Italy.
The SEIR model was discussed in a paper, published by Chaos, titled “Modeling the second wave of COVID-19 infections in France and Italy via a stochastic SEIR model.” It was able to predict the magnitude and timing of the second wave of the disease in France and Italy.
They concluded the benefits of deploying the AstraZeneca vaccine greatly outweigh its associated risks, and relative benefits are wider in situations where the reproduction number is larger.
“Despite its simplicity, the model is able to propagate uncertainties via adding interactivity as a source of randomness within the data,” said Davide Faranda, from Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement and the London Mathematical Laboratory. “It mimics our ignorance of the exact parameters of the model due to testing capacities and evolving political and medical protocols.”
Although there are rare incidents of deaths from blood clotting, overwhelming data leads to the conclusion that the risk of not getting vaccinated greatly outweighs the risks of vaccination. TrialSite will continue to monitor various trends and studies around the world.