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The family of a British lawyer who died of a blood clot after an AstraZeneca COVID-19 jab has insisted he was “just extraordinarily unlucky” — and wants people to keep getting the vaccine.
Neil Astles, 59, got his first shot on March 17 — then died in a Liverpool hospital’s ICU unit on Sunday after suffering crushing headaches and loss of vision, his sister told The Telegraph.
His death is one of 19 in the UK from blood clots following a dose of the controversial vaccine, which has been halted in more than a dozen countries amid other fatalities.
“My brother was just extraordinarily unlucky,” his sister, pharmacist Dr. Alison Astles, told the UK paper.
“Despite what has happened to our family, we strongly believe that everyone should go for their first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” she said.
“If we all have the vaccine, a few of us might have a blood clot but the evidence is that fewer people will die.
“We trust the process, we trust the regulator, and despite what has happened to our family we don’t want people to be scared off,” she insisted.
The lawyer — a healthy runner — had no history of clotting issues before getting the vaccine, his sister said.
“He had a headache which didn’t go away and he felt a bit sick,” she said, saying he initially “carried on doing his work.”
When his condition deteriorated so badly that a brother rushed him to a hospital, “there was a strong suspicion right from the very beginning that it was the Astra vaccine because of his very low platelet levels,” the sister said.
“He had a clot and a subsequent bleed on his brain, which was compressing his brainstem,” she told The Telegraph.
“What appears to have happened is the vaccine has caused his immune system to turn against his body. And his body has reacted by forming a clot which then resulted in a subsequent bleed in his brain,” she said.
Dr. Astles said she fully supported British authorities in urging people to still get the vaccine, noting that far more die from COVID-19 than blood clots. So far, 79 cases have been reported in the UK, with 19 fatalities.
On Thursday, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisted the risks were “extremely rare” at about “four in a million.”
“I’m told this is about the equivalent risk of taking a long-haul flight,” he told the BBC.
“Covid is a horrible disease and long Covid affects people in their 20s just as much it seems as any other age group and can have debilitating side effects that essentially ruin your life,” he said.
“The vaccines are safe … I will take whichever vaccine I am offered,” he told the UK broadcaster.
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