HomeScience & TechAstraZeneca's Covishield and TTS Separating Fact from Fiction

AstraZeneca’s Covishield and TTS Separating Fact from Fiction

The admission by AstraZeneca, the developer and manufacturer of the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine, regarding the potential risk of Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) as a side effect, has sparked a flurry of discussions on social media platforms. Amidst the debates and concerns, The Healthy Indian Project (THIP) conducted a fact-check to provide clarity on the matter.

Social media posts have accused the Indian government of endangering citizens by allowing the Covishield vaccine in the country, citing AstraZeneca’s acknowledgment of rare side effects. Allegations of negligence have been directed towards authorities for approving a vaccine associated with TTS.

Understanding TTS and Its Symptoms

Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) is a serious condition characterized by low platelet count and blood clot formation within the body, often associated with adenovirus vector vaccines deployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, severe headaches, stomach aches, and easy bruising.

Association between Covishield and TTS

AstraZeneca has acknowledged the potential link between its COVID-19 vaccine and TTS, categorizing it as a rare side effect. Legal proceedings in the UK revealed the company’s acknowledgment of the rare occurrence of decreased platelet levels and blood clot formation post-vaccination. However, it is important to note that not all recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine will experience TTS.

Relation between Covishield and AstraZeneca

Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India under license from AstraZeneca, is essentially the same vaccine developed by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company in collaboration with Oxford University. Both vaccines share identical formulations but are produced and distributed in different regions globally.

TTS is not exclusive to Covishield; other adenovirus vector-based vaccines, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, have also been linked to the condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) identified TTS as an adverse effect of adenovirus vector-based vaccines in 2023.

Assessment of Risk for Covishield Recipients

While there is a minimal risk of TTS associated with Covishield, it is crucial to emphasize that this risk is rare. Despite being the most widely administered vaccine in India, reported cases of TTS following Covishield vaccination have been limited. Vaccination-induced complications, including TTS, are extremely rare, primarily observed post-initial vaccination.

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