AstraZeneca: UK Under-40s to be offered alternative says JCVI
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Guillain-Barre syndrome is a “rare” neurological disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the network of nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord. Unexplained sensations are the first warning signs. Tingling in the hands and feet are examples of “unexplained sensations” that may be accompanied by leg or back pain, explained the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH). Weakness felt on both sides of the body usually follows, which may make climbing stairs particularly difficult.
More widespread nerve damage affects the breathing muscles, the face and arms.
“Most people reach the greatest stage of weakness within the first two weeks after symptoms appear,” warned the NIH.
Other symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome include:
- Difficulty with eye muscles and vision
- Difficulty swallowing, speaking, or chewing
- Pricking or pins and needles sensations in the hands and feet
- Pain that can be severe, particularly at night
- Coordination problems and unsteadiness
- Abnormal heart beat/rate or blood pressure
- Problems with digestion and/or bladder control.
These symptoms can increase in intensity over time; eventually, a person may become paralysed.
The condition can even be life-threatening, as it can interfere with breathing, blood pressure and heart rate.
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While the EMA investigate the link between the AstraZeneca jab and rare cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, UK government officials have spoken out.
“The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives in the UK and around the world,” a government spokesperson has said.
The public are reminded that the MHRA – the UK’s independent regulator – are sure that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks.
Another rare side effect linked to the AstraZeneca jab has been blood clots with low platelet counts.
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