By Tung Cheng-kuo and Liu Bing-chuan / Staff reporters
While health workers yesterday began administering the COVID-19 vaccine received earlier this month from Japan to those aged 75 or older, people with cardiovascular disease have expressed concerns about blood clots and other side effects if they receive the AstraZeneca shot.
Sheng Cheng-nan (沈政男), a doctor at the Tsaotun Psychiatric Center, on Monday said on Facebook that blood clots do not necessarily occur in older people with chronic diseases when they are inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The thrombosis linked to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is called thrombocytopenia syndrome, Sheng said, adding that a very small number of people produce antibodies after vaccination that cause the blood to congeal and clot.
However, older people with cardiovascular disease are not any more likely to experience thrombosis after they are vaccinated than other people, he said.
The thrombosis induced by the AstraZeneca vaccine occurs in one in 100,000 people, Sheng said, adding that the death rate after vaccination is about one in 500,000 people.
Doctors in the UK evaluate a person’s chances of contracting COVID-19 and being killed by the disease against the occurrence and death rates from vaccine-induced thrombosis before determining whether that person should be vaccinated, he said.
While Taiwan has managed to curb a COVID-19 outbreak in the past few days, which as a result has lowered the chance of older people being infected with COVID-19, it remains a sensible decision for those aged 75 or older — with or without chronic diseases — to get vaccinated, given that they have a higher chance of dying from COVID-19, Sheng said.
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