Astrazeneca: that's why the comparison with the contraceptive pill is lame

It is the next setback in the race against the coronavirus. Since Monday, vaccinations with the Astrazeneca vaccine have been paused in Germany for the time being. This is due to six cases of cerebral venous thrombosis that occurred four to 16 days after administration of the Astrazeneca vaccine. Three of them were fatal, according to the Paul Ehrlich Institute. In all six cases, women of younger to middle age were affected, he said.

It is still by no means certain that the Astrazeneca vaccination is really the cause of cerebral vein thrombosis. Experts such as SPD health expert and medical expert Karl Lauterbach, however, speak of a great probability.

Astrazeneca: Where does the comparison with the birth control pill come from??

In cerebral venous or sinus vein thrombosis, important blood vessels in the brain are blocked by blood clots. The transport of oxygen-depleted blood to the heart is disturbed as a result. There is an increase in prere in the brain. Sinus vein thrombosis is very rare. Experts such as the Secretary General of the German Society for Neurology (DGN), Peter Berit, speak of one case per 100 women.000 inhabitants per year.

There is now discussion on the Internet that the contraceptive pill causes thrombosis in women much more frequently. For example, Katharina Barley (SPD), vice president of the EU Parliament, wrote on the short message service Twitter. "The latest generation of birth control pills has been shown to cause thrombosis as a side effect in eight to 12 out of 10.000 women. Has this bothered anyone so far?"

Thrombosis is not just thrombosis

It is correct that taking birth control pills increases the risk of thrombosis for women. According to the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), the risk of thrombosis in women who do not take hormonal contraceptives is two in 10.000. Among women who use hormonal contraceptives, the risk of thrombosis is up to six times higher, depending on the active ingredient in the pill, according to BfArM.

However, we are talking about venous thromboses as a whole.

  • These blood clots are much more likely to occur in the legs or pelvic area.
  • In the best case, this does not even have to result in symptoms.
  • In individual cases, however, the blood clot can break loose and travel to the lungs. Then it can also become life-threatening in the event of a pulmonary embolism.
  • Most often, however, there is pain in the legs and swelling.

This is why Lauterbach, referring to the Astrazeneca vaccine, said on Deutschlandfunk radio: "The thromboses that occur after taking the pill are not comparable in severity to the thromboses we are talking about here."

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