Coronavirus crisis: Death of NSW woman, 34, ‘likely linked’ to AstraZeneca vaccine

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Josh ZimmermanThe West Australian
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The women is one of three new blood clotting cases among people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine disclosed by the TGA this afternoon as part of its weekly vaccine safety report.
Camera IconThe women is one of three new blood clotting cases among people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine disclosed by the TGA this afternoon as part of its weekly vaccine safety report. Credit: Matt Jelonek/Getty Images

A 34-year-old NSW woman died yesterday after developing blood clots following a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with the Therapeutic Goods Administration finding her death was “likely linked” to the jab.

The women is one of three new blood clotting cases among people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine disclosed by the TGA this afternoon as part of its weekly vaccine safety report.

The other two are also both NSW women, aged 51 and 67.

“Sadly, one of the cases, a 34-year-old woman from NSW, died yesterday,” the TGA report said.

“The TGA extends its sincerest condolences to her family and loved ones. We are in close communication with NSW Health who are undertaking further investigation of this case.”

Two weeks ago, in light of the Delta outbreak in NSW, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation updated its advice to say that all adults in Greater Sydney should “strongly consider” getting any available jab – including AstraZeneca.

For the rest of the country, AstraZeneca remains the preferred vaccine only for those aged 60 or above.

The women is one of three new blood clotting cases among people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine disclosed by the TGA this afternoon as part of its weekly vaccine safety report.
Camera IconThe women is one of three new blood clotting cases among people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine disclosed by the TGA this afternoon as part of its weekly vaccine safety report. Credit: Matt Jelonek/Getty Images

The TGA wrote that in Australia, severe cases of blood clots – known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome or TTS – “appear to be more common in women in younger age groups”.

“Nearly half of the TTS cases in women required treatment in intensive care,” the report said.

“Cases meeting the criteria for Tier 1 (clots in unusual locations that tend to be more serious) were also twice as likely to occur in women compared to men.

“Five of the six deaths (in Australia) occurred in women aged 34, 48 (2 cases), 52 and 72-years-old. The other death was in a 44-year-old man.”

Additionally, 61-year-old West Australian woman Linda Burns also died in the weeks after receiving an AstraZenca jab after developing an even more rare condition known as immune thrombocytopenia (ITP).

Ms Burns is the only known Australian to die of ITP, which the TGA found was “likely to be related to immunisation”.

ITP is characterised by the immune system destroying blood-clotting platelets, which in some cases causes excessive bleeding and in about 5 per cent of cases has severe outcomes.

There have now been a total of 93 cases of TTS assessed as either definitely (57) or probably (36) linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. Five of the cases have been in WA.

Blood clotting most commonly occurred around two weeks after vaccination although the time to on-set has been as much as 54 days.

Around 6.8 million doses of AstraZeneca have now been administered across Australia, meaning the rate of blood clots is around one in 73,000.

The TGA stressed that the “protective benefits of vaccination against COVID-19 far outweigh the potential risks of vaccination”.

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