Europe’s drug watchdog has warned of a startling “rare” spinal cord infection that could be caused by Astrazeneca and Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccines
There are new fears that AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 injections could, in rare cases, cause a horrific spinal infection.
The European Medicines Agency wants to label the two vaccines with warnings stating that there is a “reasonable possibility” that they could cause the rare side effect.
After three days of discussions and meetings, EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) said it wanted to include a warning for “very rare cases of Transverse Myelitis (TM) reported after vaccination”.
It also appends the condition as “side effect of unknown frequency” to the vaccination profile.
The EMA described TM as a rare neurological condition characterized by “inflammation of one or both sides of the spinal cord”.
It can cause alarming weakness in your arms or legs, tingling, numbness, pain — and problems with bowel and bladder function.
The recommendation comes after the PRAC analyzed reported cases and scientific literature and RT reports worldwide.
They came to the conclusion: “A causal association between these two vaccines and transverse myelitis is at least a reasonable possibility.” However, it said the “benefit-risk profile of both vaccines remains unchanged.”
It hopes for “Raising awareness among healthcare professionals and people receiving the vaccines.”
Doctors were told to be on the lookout for symptoms and signs of TM, while recipients were encouraged to do so “See a doctor immediately” if they develop the symptoms.
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The EMA last month approved the Janssen vaccine as a booster dose for people aged 18 and over, to be given at least two months after previous vaccinations.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, developed jointly with Oxford University, has been scaled back due to the “ultra-rare” side effect of blood clotting when it was used.
In other Covid news, an experimental new nasal spray could prevent people from catching Covid-19 for up to eight hours, according to a study.
The New York Times reported that the promising treatment has shown in laboratory studies in mice that it can block infection by the virus, according to researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland.
Study author Kalle Saksela told Gizmodo that “this technology is cheap, very manufacturable, and the inhibitor works equally well against all variants.”
She added: “It also works against the now-extinct SARS virus, so it could also serve as an emergency measure against possible new coronaviruses.”