An official from the European Medicines Agency now says there is a clear – but very rare – link between the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine and blood clots.
By Joanna York
The family of a 63-year-old French man who died after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine are pressing charges for involuntary homicide.
Joël Crochet, from Annecy (Haute-Savoie) died as a result of multiple blood clots on March 18. He received his first dose of the vaccine on March 7.
The day after he was vaccinated, he had difficulty breathing and moving his joints. He felt better in the following days after his doctor prescribed cortisone, a common treatment for joint swelling and pain.
But his health deteriorated the following weekend.
His brother Jean-Luc Crochet told FranceInfo: “In the space of a day and a half he developed problems on top of problems. He had blood clots in his vital organs, including his liver, kidneys and brain. It was lightning-fast.”
Three legal cases underway in France
Mr Crochet’s family have brought their case against ‘X’, meaning they have not singled out a guilty party. If the courts decide that the family have been legally wronged, it will be up to the justice system to decide who is at fault for Mr Crochet’s death.
Their case is the third to be brought in France following deaths that have occurred within days of people receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
After he died, Mr Crochet’s family alerted French medicine regulator ANSM, which has ordered an investigation to identify the cause of death.
But the family’s lawyer, Véronique Denizot, said they had decided to press charges as they were “95% certain that a link with the vaccine will be established”.
Benefits greater than risks despite clear blood-clot link
This comes as an official from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) yesterday confirmed there was a link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and the formation of blood clots.
Marco Cavaleri, head of the EMA vaccine strategy, told Italian newspaper Il Messaggero: “In my opinion we can say it now; it is clear there is a link with the vaccine. But we still do not know what causes this reaction.”
But instances of people forming blood clots after being injected with the vaccine remain extremely rare.
By March 24 in the UK, 18.1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine had been administered, with 30 people developing related blood clots and seven people reported as dying as a result.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on March 6 that it was still “fully” in favour of the AstraZeneca vaccine being used, as the benefits far outweigh the risks.
“The advantages are significant, in terms of reducing deaths among vaccinated populations”, said Dr Rogerio Pinto de Sá Gaspar, director of regulation at the WHO.