Emergency departments are being swamped by patients who have had the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine and are suffering mild side effects.
Doctors have reported an increase of patients claiming to be suffering from the jab in the wake of concerns around blood clots raised earlier this week.
People saying they are suffering ‘mild headaches’ after having the vaccine are clogging up hospitals, doctors said.
This week the company’s vaccine was restricted for certain age groups in various countries around the world, including under-30s in Britain, after reports of rare blood clots in the brain and abdomen.
Officials insisted there is still no evidence the jab causes the blood conditions and stressed the benefits of vaccination far outweighed the risk.
Emergency departments are being swamped by patients who have had the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine and are suffering mild side effects, doctors say. Picture: St Thomas’ Hospital in London
AstraZeneca’s vaccine was restricted for certain age groups in various countries around the world, including under-30s in Britain
Dr Katherine Henderson, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, told the Guardian people who are ‘alright’ are coming into hospitals with concerns about the vaccine.
She said: ‘It’s definitely a thing. Colleagues across England are reporting this. All A&E departments are seeing an increase in the number of people reporting concerns after having the AstraZeneca vaccine.
‘We are seeing people with mild headaches and persistent headaches but who are otherwise alright.
‘Emergency departments and GPs are getting a lot of queries. I think it’s an understandable reaction by the public. I can understand why people are anxious. If they are worried they need to get advice.’
An A&E consultant told the Health Service Journal the overload has left doctors ‘scrabbling’.
They said: ‘We have seen huge numbers of AstraZeneca jab-associated headaches being sent in and, like all [emergency departments], we’re scrabbling to cobble together some guidance so as to sensibly reduce the number needing investigation.
‘I gather some units are really, really struggling with this.’
It comes as GPs warned Britons are cancelling appointments for the company’s vaccine.
In what could be a major blow to vaccine uptake, doctors said they had been inundated with patients of all ages requesting to be given an alternative to the British-made jab.
Leaked delivery schedules reveal the Government is expecting AstraZeneca’s vaccine to make up 75 per cent of its Covid jab supplies over the next two months
GPs have also been bombarded with people complaining of headaches and ‘requesting brain scans’ after getting their first dose.
HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE SUFFERED THE RARE BRAIN CLOTS AFTER GETTING THE ASTRAZENECA VACCINE?
MHRA data leaked to ITV shows that, in total, more fatal blood clots have developed in 30 to 39-year-olds than any other age group.
According to the regulator’s review, by March 31 there had been 79 cases of the side effect and 19 deaths.
The 79 cases occurred in 51 women and 28 men, aged from 18 to 79.
Some 14 cases of the 19 were cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a specific type of clot that prevents blood from draining from the brain.
The other five cases were thrombosis. An age breakdown of the cases is shown below:
18 – 29
30 – 39
40 – 49
50 – 59
60 – 69
70 – 79
The concerns come amid fears that public confidence in the jab has been eroded after regulators suspended its use in healthy under-30s yesterday while it continues to probe its link to blood clots.
The clots have been spotted in just 79 out of 20million Brits vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab.
Meanwhile, a letter sent by NHS bosses on Wednesday urged all vaccination sites to cancel appointments for young people who don’t have underlying health conditions, including NHS workers and carers.
These people will have to wait weeks before being given access to either the Pfizer vaccine, which is currently being rationed for second doses, or the Moderna jab which is due to start being rolled out later this month.
Dr David Triska, a GP partner at Witley and Milford Surgeries in Surrey, told MailOnline this week people are now cancelling their AstraZeneca jab in favour of another.
He said: ‘We have now been inundated with consultations relating to headaches and people defaulting their AstraZeneca appointment to try and get another vaccine. We are reassuring them the balance of risk is in favour of receiving the vaccine.’
The comments were echoed by the Mail On Sunday’s resident GP, Dr Ellie Cannon, who revealed she’d received lots of ‘requests for brain scans from well people’ who are concerned they may have developed the brain clots.
She said there had been ‘mass panic’ following yesterday’s announcement by British regulators, tweeting: ‘Lots of calls from patients thinking they’ve had a blood clot or wanting to be checked for one…… Have we handled this reporting correctly? Storm for GPs and A&E colleagues…’
Matt Hancock warned people under the age of 30 that refusing a vaccine because of blood clot fears could ‘ruin your life’ due to the risk of catching the disease and developing ‘debilitating’ long Covid.
The Health Secretary launched a media blitz today as officials scramble to shore up public confidence in the vaccine.