A 48-year-old woman who died five days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine was a much-loved worker for the health food company which makes Weet-Bix.
Questions remain why the woman was given the British-made Covid jab, which has been linked to blood clots, a day after authorities recommended it not be administered to people under 50.
The woman received the vaccine on April 9, developed blood clots the following day, was placed on dialysis in an intensive care unit and died on April 14.
Sanitarium Health Food Company, which is based on the New South Wales Central Coast, confirmed the woman was one of its 800 employees.
‘We understand this case is under investigation by the coroner and the health department,’ a spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia.
‘The company is saddened by the loss of a much loved employee, and we offer our heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and workmates.’
A 48-year-old woman who died five days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine was a much-loved worker for the health food company which makes Weet-Bix. (Stock image)
Addressing the woman’s death, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there was ‘a lot more to understand about the issue’ and pleaded for caution in drawing conclusions. Mr Morrison is pictured with the AstraZeneca vaccine
Sanitarium Health Food Company, which is based on the New South Wales Central Coast at Berkeley Vale, confirmed the woman was one of its 800 employees
Sanitarium, which has its factory and head office at Berkeley Vale, makes Weet-Bix, Up & Go breakfast drinks and So Good soy, almond and coconut milks.
The company was founded in Melbourne in 1898, manufactures only plant-derived products and is wholly owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The morning after the new AstraZeneca advice was issued NSW Health announced a temporarily pause to its use until ‘informed consent’ forms were updated with information about the blood clot risk.
The alternative Pfizer vaccine was preferred for those under 50, such as the Central Coast woman and the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout for those over 50 resumed later that day..
Daily Mail Australia understands the woman who died was diabetic but otherwise previously in good health.
A NSW Health spokesman said the department could not confirm any link between the woman receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine and her death.
Addressing the woman’s death, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there was ‘a lot more to understand about the issue’ and pleaded for caution in drawing conclusions.
The morning after the new AstraZeneca advice was issued NSW Health announced a temporarily pause to it use until it could update its ‘informed consent’ forms with information about the blood clot risk. A patient is pictured looking at a Covid-19 information pack
Australia had been relying on the AstraZeneca dose for the bulk of its vaccination program – but links to rare cases of blood clots in some countries had thrown the government’s rollout into disarray.
Experts in Australia now say those under 50s should be offered an alternative, while the British-made jab has been stopped altogether in Denmark.
‘I think there is a lot more to understand and learn about that issue and I would caution others in making conclusions about this at this point as well,’ the prime minister said while on a visit in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
‘We’ve been very transparent, very transparent when it comes to information on these issues and people can expect us to do that.’
Mr Morrison said potential concerns around vaccine hesitancy meant it was important that the matter was fully investigated by medical experts.
‘I think it’s important, because of the fact that people can have concerns, that we follow that important process, to inform ourselves properly,’ he said.
Daily Mail Australia understands the woman, who was diabetic but otherwise previously in good health, was placed in an intensive care unit and died on Wednesday (stock image)
A spokesman for NSW Health told Daily Mail Australia it ‘does not speculate on or discuss individual cases’.
‘But the death of anyone is always a tragedy and our condolences are with the family and loved ones of the person who has passed away,’ he said.
The Therapeutic Goods Association was now investigating the woman’s death, and the Department of Health had not yet established whether her clot was related directly to the vaccine.
The risk of dying from Covid-19 is significantly higher than the rate of blood clots, which have not been definitively linked to the vaccines (based on fatality estimates from Cambridge University and CSVT occurrences in Germany)
WHICH COUNTRIES HAVE SUSPENDED THE ASTRAZENECA VACCINE?
SUSPENDED FOR UNDER-30s
- United Kingdom
SUSPENDED FOR UNDER-55s
SUSPENDED FOR UNDER-60s
SUSPENDED FOR UNDER-65s
SUSPENDED FOR UNDER-70s
SUSPENDED FOR ALL AGES
- The Netherlands
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation advised earlier this month that people aged under 50 should not be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab due to the risk of blood clots.
News of the 48-year-old’s death comes on the same day Denmark announced it will be ceasing use of the AstraZeneca vaccine all together, while under 30s in the UK are already being offered alternative vaccines.
Denmark was the first country to pause the use of the AstraZeneca jab in March amid concerns about blood clots.
Several other countries followed suit though most, including Germany and France, have since resumed the use of the vaccine for older people.
Denmark has also put Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine on pause pending further investigations into a possible link to rare blood clot cases.
The European Union’s drug watchdog said last week that it had found a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and very rare blood clot cases.
However it said the risk of dying from Covid-19 was ‘much greater’ than the risk of mortality from rare side effects.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is significantly cheaper than other vaccines and is easier to store as it does not require to be kept at an extremely low temperature.
The concern over clots and mixed messages surrounding the vaccine are expected to affect people’s willingness to take it.
Scott Morrison promised the whole adult population would be immunised by October, but the rollout has since been derailed by the jab’s link to blood clots.
Twenty million doses of Pfizer are on their way but no more help is on hand for younger Australians until at least October.
The prime minister said he ‘would like’ all Australians to get at least their first dose by the end of the year, but made no guarantees.
In a desperate attempt to get the stalled program back on track, he plans to create huge hubs to ramp up vaccinations.
‘NSW Health investigates these events and refers its expert panel findings to the TGA, which is responsible for assessing causality,’ a spokesman said.
‘Many conditions can arise during normal life, whether or not a vaccine is administered, but it remains important to report any new serious or unexpected events so that safety can be appropriately monitored.
‘Anyone concerned that they are experiencing a serious adverse event following vaccination should see their health care provider in the first instance or dial 000 in an emergency.’
The 48-year-old woman, from the Central Coast, was given the vaccine last Friday, developed major blood clots and was put on dialysis the next day. Stock image
Blood clots are a common problem for people with diabetes.
The metabolic disease, which causes high blood sugar levels, increases the risk of plaque build-up in the arteries which can cause dangerous blood clots.
In fact, nearly 80 percent of people who have diabetes will eventually die of clot-related causes, according to Heart.org.
But it still remains unclear how some Covid vaccines may trigger blood clots.
The 48-year-old’s death comes just two days after it was revealed a Western Australian woman in her 40s was hospitalised with blood clots after getting the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The woman received treatment for ‘thrombosis with thrombocytopenia’ and is now in a stable condition.
Back in April, a 44-year-old man in Victoria also developed blood clots after being inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
He has since recovered.
One of the major risk factors for blood clots is diabetes. Pictured: A Townsville nurse in Queensland gets the Covid vaccine jab