Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), UK’s apex drug regulator, has listed a nerve disorder as a ‘very rare’ side-effect of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University.
In an official statement, MHRA revealed that the two-dose AstraZeneca vaccine causes a rare neurological disorder known as ‘Guillain-Barre syndrome.’
The risk of developing Guillain-Barre syndrome after receiving AstraZeneca’s Coronavirus vaccine is extremely rare, MHRA noted, adding that the benefits of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in preventing COVID-19 infection and its complications outweigh any associated risks.
Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves. Weakness and tingling in the extremities are usually the first symptoms that can quickly spread and paralyze the whole body.
Last month, European Medicines Agency (EMA), EU’s top medical regulator, also listed Guillain-Barre syndrome as a very rare side-effect of AstraZeneca’s Coronavirus vaccine.
EMA claimed that 833 people out of the 592 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine administered at that time worldwide suffered Guillain-Barre syndrome.
It added that the risk of developing Guillain-Barre syndrome after receiving AstraZeneca’s Coronavirus vaccine was 1 in 10,000.
Apart from AstraZeneca, the single-dose Coronavirus vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson (J&J), which is based on the same adenovirus vector technology as AstraZeneca, is known to cause Guillain-Barre syndrome as well.
Earlier this year in April, both AstraZeneca and J&J’s COVID-19 vaccines were also linked with Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST), a rare type of blood clotting in the brain.
Many countries across the world, mostly in Europe, temporarily paused the use of AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines as a precautionary measure after a number of recipients suffered blood clots and brain hemorrhages following vaccine administration.
Days after the revelation, European Commission (EC) decided that the supply contracts of the UK-based AstraZeneca and the US-based J&J would not be extended once they expire at the end of 2021.