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AstraZeneca cops to rare, deadly side effect of COVID jab as lawsuits mount

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AstraZeneca has admitted that its COVID-19 vaccine could cause a rare but deadly blood-clotting condition, potentially exposing the UK pharmaceutical giant to tens of millions in lawsuits brought by loved ones of those injured or killed as a result of the jab, according to court documents.

Lawyers representing “dozens” of class-action claimants say some of their clients’ cases could be worth as much as $25 million, calling the Cambridge-headquartered pharma firm’s vaccine “a defective product,” according to the Daily Mail.

AstraZeneca, which is contesting the claims, acknowledged in a February legal document that its vaccine can “in very rare cases” cause a condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS.

One of the claimants is Jamie Scott (right), an IT engineer and father of two left with a permanent brain injury resulting from a blood clot after he received the vaccine in April 2021.

TTS can cause patients to suffer blood clots as well as a low blood platelet count, which in some cases have seriously harmed or even killed recipients of the company’s vaccine.

The potential complication was listed as a possible side effect from the time of the vaccine’s release, but AstraZeneca’s acknowledgment in February marks the first time the pharmaceutical titan has admitted it in court, according to the Telegraph.

So far, 51 cases have been filed in London’s High Court, estimated to be worth around $125 million total, the outlet writes.

Due to a bargain AstraZeneca struck with the UK government at the height of the pandemic to indemnify the drugmaker against potential lawsuits, taxpayers will be on the hook for any payouts resulting from the claims.

One of the claimants who filed suit is Jamie Scott, an IT engineer and father of two left with a permanent brain injury resulting from a blood clot after he received the vaccine in April 2021.

AstraZeneca doled out some 50 million COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic in the UK, where 81 people have died from blood clots potentially linked to the jab, according to health data. LightRocket via Getty Images

His wife, Kate, told the outlet she’s hopeful the company’s admission will accelerate the outcome of their case.

“We need an apology, fair compensation for our family and other families who have been affected. We have the truth on our side, and we are not going to give up.”

In a statement, AstraZeneca expressed sympathy for anyone who was allegedly harmed by the vaccine, but defended it as a net positive and pointed out that complications are exceedingly rare.

“Patient safety is our highest priority, and regulatory authorities have clear and stringent standards to ensure the safe use of all medicines, including vaccines,” the statement reads in part.

In a statement, AstraZeneca expressed sympathy for anyone who was allegedly harmed by the vaccine, but defended it as a net-positive and pointed out that complications are rare. AFP via Getty Images

“From the body of evidence in clinical trials and real-world data, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine has continuously been shown to have an acceptable safety profile and regulators around the world consistently state that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks of extremely rare potential side effects.”

The AstraZeneca COVID vaccine was first approved for emergency use in December, 2020. Of the 50 million doses administered in the UK during the crisis, 81 people have died from blood clots potentially linked to the jab, according to health data compiled by UK pharmaceutical watchdog the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

The odds of a recipient developing TTS as a result of the vaccine are calculated as somewhere in the range of 1 in 50,000, the outlet writes.

In all, the AstraZeneca vaccine is credited with saving as many as 6 million lives globally during the pandemic, according to the University of Oxford, which partnered with the company in developing the jab.

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