COVID-19 Vaccination: The AstraZeneca storm in a syringe

Government and media reactions to reports of blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination are incredible. And stupid.

I am no doctor.

Nor am I an epidemiologist or hematologist.

In fact, I have no medical training or background whatsoever — the bits of my brain that understand science are on holiday for the most.

Because of this, I rely on those brainboxes who do take Medicine and end up in healthcare roles where they help us in our medical times of need.

However, I do understand the concept of risk. This partially comes from a rollercoaster career as a writer, which has steeled me to have a slightly higher tolerance around risk-taking given the precarious nature of my profession.

When stories started filtering in about an issue with blood clots and taking the AstraZeneca vaccine, sure, my ears pricked up but mostly because I was not surprised.

Not. One. Bit.

The speed at which the big pharma developed COVID-19 vaccines is mind-boggling. And because of the rapidity with which they did this, and also the expedited government drug approval process, it doesn’t take a genius to conclude that at some point there were going to be some complications the clinical trials did not expose.

The potential issue with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

As reported by the BBC:

“The MHRA looked into UK cases of rare blood clots in people who had recently received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. It found that 79 people — two-thirds of them women — experienced clots after receiving a first vaccine dose. Nineteen of them died.

More than 20 million AstraZeneca vaccines doses had been administered across the UK by the end of March. The MHRA said about four people in a million would normally be expected to develop this particular kind of blood clot — though the fact they are so rare makes the usual rate hard to estimate.

And the regulator said it had not been proven that the jab had caused the clots.

Its head, Dr June Raine, said while the link was “firming up”, more evidence would be needed.”

Further to this, of the four in a million who MIGHT (and I stress MIGHT) develop the blood clot, 25% will die.

Do the simple math: That means one in a million MIGHT die from a clot that MIGHT be related to the vaccine.

I use the term might again because at present, no other information about the deaths has been released. Nothing about the individual’s specific health profiles that could also be related to why the clot occurred. While this is understandable for privacy reasons, what it means is that the one in a million chance of dying might even be considerably less as other factors about the individual may have increased the likelihood of the clot and the vaccine interaction.

Do the simple math: That means one in a million MIGHT die from a clot that MIGHT be related to the vaccine.

And yet despite this, hysteria has rained down.

Despite the fact that 2.16% of those who have so far contracted COVID-19 have died from it

So, for comparison, rather than the one in a million that MIGHT die from this mystery clot, 21, 641 people per million are likely to die from COVID-19.

To bring even more perspective, take a read of this list of “odds of dying” from a huge range of things.

Yep, you have a greater chance of dying from being struck by lightning, attacked by a dog or getting sunstroke.

So, for comparison, rather than the one in a million that MIGHT die from this mystery clot, 21, 641 people per million are likely to die from COVID-19.

Knowing the risks, I had my first jab of the AstraZeneca vaccine this week.

Four days later, I have experienced no side effects, no flu-like symptoms, no breathlessness or sore muscles and, hopefully, I’m not that one in a million who MIGHT develop a blood clot.

I did it because I wanted to do my bit to beat this virus.

Because I refuse to live in fear of a risk so small that I’m more likely to die of being struck by lightning than of developing the blood clot.

Because there are probably 75 things I do every day where there is a higher risk of harm or even death.

Because if, as a society, we allow this kind of hysteria to grip us every time risk presents, we may as well throw in the collective towel now because risk shadows us every moment of our lives.

So please, don’t be fooled by the mad storm that has erupted over this.

Don’t buy into the hysteria and instead take a breath and get perspective about the concept of risk and how it sits in our lives.

And if you can, be brave and embrace risk as much as possible so your life is one of action and reward, rather than inaction and stagnation.

Writer, editor, content dude, digital disruptor. Politics. Arts. Tech. Travel. Food. Film. The Force. Digital Nomad. Citizen of the universe. Coffee. Always.

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