AstraZeneca is vehemently denying allegations that its Covid-19 vaccine caused blood clots, as it faces a significant legal challenge in the High Court.
The pharmaceutical company, headquartered in Cambridge, is being sued for multi-million pounds by a father-of-two, Jamie Scott, who suffered a severe permanent brain injury after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine in April 2021. This legal action is expected to pave the way for at least 40 additional claims totaling around £80 million in damages.
In response to the legal filing, AstraZeneca has strongly asserted that the claim is “confused” and “wrong in law.” The company defends the benefit/risk profile of its vaccine, stating that it remains positive. AstraZeneca emphasizes that its vaccine, developed in collaboration with Oxford University, received approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The plaintiff, Jamie Scott, who endured a life-altering adverse reaction to the vaccine, is represented under the Consumer Protection Act. His legal team contends that he now grapples with serious injuries, including speech difficulties, reduced cognition, memory issues, and processing challenges.
The defense from AstraZeneca includes a denial of overstatement regarding the vaccine's safety in initial press releases. The pharmaceutical giant asserts that the vaccine's development was a significant scientific achievement, contributing substantially to controlling the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. AstraZeneca highlights that three billion vaccine doses have been supplied globally, saving an estimated 6.3 million lives.
The legal battle also addresses the issue of Vaccine-induced Immune Thrombocytopenia and Thrombosis (VITT), a rare condition associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. AstraZeneca acknowledges VITT as a “new diagnosis” but disputes the causal connection with its vaccine. The company contends that the term assumes a link with the vaccine, and it does not accept the use of the term in its defense.
Concerns surrounding the rare blood clotting side effect led the UK to modify its guidance, advising against administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to certain age groups. Despite these adjustments, AstraZeneca points out that Jamie Scott, who was 44 at the time of vaccination, falls within the age category for which the vaccine continued to be recommended in the UK. The pharmaceutical company maintains that the absolute risk reduction data were not misleading and were excluded from press releases due to their interpretative challenges.