Man Hospitalized With COVID After Refusing AstraZeneca Vaccine Over Blood Clot Fears

A COVID patient in the Netherlands has been hospitalized with the virus after turning down the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine.

The patient declined to receive the vaccine having seen media reports on the very small risk of blood-clotting events in some AZ recipients.

Dutch doctors at the Zuyderland medical organization have shared the patient's story in the hope of addressing vaccine hesitancy, calling on the Netherlands health council to take action.

The patient agreed to let doctors share a scan of his lungs, included in their statement, showing the damage caused by the COVID infection.

The Zuyderland statement read: "You don't have to be a lung specialist to recognize the devastation. You also do not have to be an epidemiologist to explain the risks of not being vaccinated.

"Colleagues regularly fall ill, become exhausted and often become completely incapacitated for work. Our medical specialists explain to all their patients every day that vaccination is really important and really safe.

"Employees are legitimately asking why they should continue to provide care without adequate protection, while vaccines are waiting in the refrigerator."

The organization called on the health council to ensure medical professionals are provided with a COVID vaccine themselves. It warned that it may start giving out unused vaccines to employees and doctors from next Monday regardless.

Earlier this month the Netherlands announced it would limit the rollout of the AZ vaccine to people aged over 60, following a similar move by Germany some days prior.

It followed concerns that the AZ vaccine could be linked to some specific types of blood clot.

In Madrid, less than half the people who were scheduled to receive an AZ vaccine on April 8 showed up for their appointment amid the reports, according to Spanish newspaper El Confidencial.

The UK's MHRA medical regulator agency said there had been 79 reports of such cases up to March 31 out of around 20.2 million doses.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is continuing to monitor cases of blood clots in AZ vaccine patients, which it describes as "very rare." The AZ vaccine is also called Vaxzevria.

The EMA said in an April 14 statement: "EMA considers the overall benefits of the vaccine continue to outweigh the risks in people being vaccinated.

"EMA will continue to monitor Vaxzevria's safety and effectiveness and provide the public with the latest information."

In its description of the AZ vaccine, the EMA now states that thrombosis, or the formation of blood clots in the blood vessels, in combination with thrombocytopenia (low levels of platelets), is a "new very rare side effect (occurring in less than 1 in 10,000 persons)."

COVID vaccine
A COVID vaccine being administered at Backus Hospital in Norwich, Connecticut on December 15, 2020. Dutch doctors have voiced concerns about vaccine hesitancy. Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty