Western Australia woman's death linked to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

By NineNews - 8 July 2021  

An Australian woman, Linda Burns has died after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has confirmed.

The 61-year-old Western Australia woman's death from Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) was "likely linked" to the vaccine, experts have said.

"This was based on the lack of strong evidence for other causes and the occurrence of the event being within a plausible time period after vaccination," the TGA said.

Linda Burns received her AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine early last month (June 2021).

Not long after, she began feeling ill with a nose bleed, sore throat, cough and headache. Her GP told her to go to hospital.

Three days later she was admitted to St John of God in Midland then transferred to Royal Perth where she suffered a brain bleed.  

ITP is a rare bleeding disorder that occurs when the immune system mistakenly destroys platelets, which helps the blood to clot. It can occur after the immune system is activated, for example by a viral infection or vaccination, and has been reported with other vaccines for hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and influenza.

Up to a third of people with ITP will have no symptoms at all, or have only minor bruising. However, about five percent develop severe bleeding.

The risk of ITP associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine is still being investigated and characterised, the TGA said.

Preliminary findings from a recent Scottish study estimate the risk of ITP to be about one case per 100,000 AstraZeneca doses.

To July 4, 2021, the TGA has received 36 reports of suspected ITP.

"We encourage people to seek medical attention if they experience signs and symptoms that could suggest ITP, such as unusual skin bruising or clusters of small red or purple spots that do not lose their colour when pressed," the TGA said.

"Unusual bleeding is another sign, for example bleeding from the nose or mouth that is hard to stop, or blood in the urine or stools."

In the past week, three confirmed incidents of the rare blood clotting condition TTS have been linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, along with four classed as "probable".


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