Since the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was first used in the United Kingdom in January of this year, it quickly became one of the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines in the world.
Unfortunately, the AstraZeneca vaccine has also become well-known for causing blood clots and other severe side effects. (Related: STUDY: Young people are twice as likely to die from AstraZeneca vaccine than from COVID-19.)
The peer-reviewed study -- the latest addition to the growing number of unsavory reports about the vaccine -- was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It was conducted by researchers from the Massachusetts Medical Society, the state's main medical association.
The researchers studied data from 294 patients who presented to hospitals in the U.K. between March 22 to June 6 of this year. Of those, only 220 cases were recognized by British health authorities as either "definite" or "probable" cases of blood clotting. Scientists have referred to this condition as vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (VITT).
The VITT cases occurred in people aged between 18 and 79, with the median age being 48. Eighty-five percent of the 220 recognized cases occurred in people younger than 60 years of age.
All 220 recognized cases had received the first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. They experienced their symptoms and presented themselves to hospitals between five to 48 days after their vaccination. The median time between the patients receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine and going to the hospital was 14 days.
The researchers found that 41 percent of the patients with recognized VITT were not diagnosed with any underlying health conditions. This means they were perfectly healthy before they received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Of the remaining 59 percent who reported a past or current illness, the researchers said none of the conditions or the medications they took were so prevalent that they "would be unexpected in the general population."
The overall mortality rate for the 220 recognized VITT cases was 22 percent.
The study found that the incidence of VITT cases for people who received viral vector vaccines like the ones made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson was around one case in 50,000.
The researchers and so-called public health experts who commented on the study believe this incidence rate is a risk worth taking, and people should not shy away from getting vaccinated with either AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Sue Pavord, a consultant hematologist at Oxford University Hospitals, believes that people under the age of 40 should instead get an alternative experimental and side effect-riddled COVID-19 vaccine.
Even the New England Journal of Medicine, which helped facilitate the peer-reviewing of the study, tried to downplay its ramifications.
A spokesperson for the journal said the research was only drawn from "a small sample size" and therefore should not be used to influence vaccination policy.
"Recent real-world evidence drawn from millions of individuals shows that AstraZeneca's vaccine has a comparable safety profile with other vaccines and that incidences of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia are extremely rare and treatable," claimed the journal's spokesperson.
The spokesperson further claimed without evidence that people are more likely to get blood clots through contracting COVID-19 than through the AstraZeneca vaccine.
At the end of July, AstraZeneca published a study that reported VITT cases caused by its vaccine was at 8.1 cases per million first doses and 2.3 cases per million second doses.
This data is highly contested. The British government's own data on the matter shows that, from July 28, there were actually 14.9 cases per million first doses and 1.8 cases per million second doses.
Learn more about how dangerous the COVID-19 vaccines are by reading the latest articles at Vaccines.news.