Recent cases of stroke, blood clots and heart attacks not linked to AZ, says Dr Noor Hisham

PETALING JAYA: Cases of heart attack, stroke and blood clots which are happening now are not linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, says Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic).

The former Health director-general said the period since the vaccine's last use in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme had long exceeded the time frame for any potential side effects to appear.

"The side effects linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine are blood clots or vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT)," he added.

"This is a blood clotting disorder with reduced platelet count. However, it only happens within four days to a month after receiving the vaccine," Sinar Harian quoted Dr Noor Hisham as saying on X on Tuesday (May 28).

He said his office had received the report on VITT but proceeded with AZ vaccinations given the urgency of the situation at the height of the pandemic.

However, he said high-risk individuals with a history of blood clots were not given the AZ vaccine.

"Following this, the Health Ministry released guidelines to vet the high-risk group, prevent them from receiving AZ vaccines, and detect any early side effects after immunisation," he added.

He said the number of cases with VITT side effects was low (one case in every one million vaccinations), and relatively safer compared to the high risk of blood clots and low platelets after Covid-19 infection.

Dr Noor Hisham pointed out that several other factors including smoking, cholesterol and diabetes could be factors for heart attacks, strokes and blood clots.

He also said there was a difference between VITT and other types of clotting.

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