Family of man who died from a blood clot after the AstraZeneca vaccine urge people to keep getting it, saying they trust the science

Family of man who died from a blood clot after the AstraZeneca vaccine urge people to keep getting it, saying they trust the science
A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP
  • Neil Astles, 59, died from a blood clot after getting his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • His sister, Alison Astles, urged others to still take it, saying he was "extraordinarily unlucky."
  • The UK withdrew the shot's use in under-30s on Wednesday out of what it called extreme caution.

The sister of a man who died from a blood clot after receiving AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine is encouraging people to continue taking it.

Alison Astles told The Daily Telegraph that her family still urged people to take the shot, arguing that its effectiveness against the coronavirus far outweighed the risks.

Neil Astles, 59, got a single dose of the vaccine on March 17, The Telegraph reported. He died Sunday, about three weeks later. The Telegraph published a photo with his story:
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The interview with Astles was published hours after the European medicines regulator announced that rare, potentially fatal blood clots might be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine and after UK officials withdrew its use in people under the age of 30.

Astles, a pharmacist and subject leader at the University of Huddersfield, said her brother had been "extraordinarily unlucky" and urged people to continue taking the shot if offered it.

"We trust the process, we trust the regulator, and despite what has happened to our family we don't want people to be scared off," she said. "That's the message we want to get across."
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Astles said her brother, a local government lawyer in northwestern England, had generally been fit and healthy.

A week after his first vaccine dose, The Telegraph reported, he displayed some characteristic symptoms of blood clots including worsening headaches and a loss of vision in his right eye.He went to the emergency room after his symptoms got "a great deal worse," his sister said. After 10 days of worsening symptoms, he died Sunday, almost three weeks after receiving the vaccine, The Telegraph reported.
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"There was a strong suspicion right from the very beginning that it was the Astra vaccine because of his very low platelet levels," Astles said.

She said that "emotionally" her family was furious at losing her brother but that intellectually "there's nothing in our minds to be really furious about." She continued: "My brother was just extraordinarily unlucky."

"Despite what has happened to our family, we strongly believe that everyone should go for their first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine," Astles told The Telegraph.
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"If we all have the vaccine, a few of us might have a blood clot, but the evidence is that fewer people will die."

The Telegraph reported that Astles' death was too recent for the coroner to have produced a formal cause of death for him.

Astles said her brother had received a diagnosis of a "cerebral sinus thrombosis and subarachnoid hemorrhage" with "low platelets and extraordinarily high d-dimer."
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The European Medicines Agency on Wednesday identified low platelets alongside the cerebral blood clots as "very rare side effects" of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Clots that are caught early can often be treated with anti-clotting medication.

Symptoms of blood clots include shortness of breath, severe and persistent headaches, persistent pain in the abdomen, and neurological symptoms, including blurred vision.
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Experts argue that receiving the AstraZeneca shot is still safer than everyday activities like getting on a plane, Insider's Aria Bendix, Andrew Dunn, and Hilary Brueck reported on Wednesday.

The UK has advised that people under the age of 30 be given an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine, however, as the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation said on Wednesday that the risk-to-benefit tradeoff was "more finely balanced" in younger people given their relatively lower risk of dying from COVID-19.
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