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I’ll Take My Chances – The Risk of Blood Clots on the AZ Vaccine and the Pill

There was much concern last week when reports that the vaccine posed a risk of being the cause of blood clots were published. In response, people began highlighting the higher risk of blood clots posed by contraceptive pills.


On March 15th, the Republic of Ireland temporarily suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and on March 16th, Germany, Norway, Italy, and France followed suit. Over 61% of people in France proceeded to admit that they believed the AZ vaccine to be too unsafe. 


According to UN figures from 2019, over 842 million people use hormonal contraceptives. Those that use estrogen in particular are at a higher risk of blood clots. This is because hormonal contraceptives use synthetic hormones which aim to mimic the body without causing much impact. However, this creates an increased risk of blood clots. According to several medical papers and reports, including Hormonal Contraceptives and Cerebral Venous Thrombosis Risk, there is a 7.5% increased risk of blood clots for people taking oral contraceptive pills. 


There was much confusion on social media, from men in particular, as to what the link between contraception and the vaccine is, and how this discussion is relevant. In response, it was stated that male birth control was trialed and cancelled because of its risks, just as the AZ vaccine has been taken off the market, while female birth control continues to be used by millions. And that’s just it. That’s the difference.


For some people, using contraceptive pills is the only way to live a comfortable life without suffering from symptoms. The period app Clue reads, ‘People who use hormonal birth control methods that contain estrogen have a higher risk of blood clots in comparison to people who do not use hormonal methods, but the overall risk is still very low among most people using hormonal methods’. 


There have been 30 reports of blood clots across 17 million people who have received the jab, which is lower than what we see in the normal population. Previous data has shown that the AstraZeneca vaccine was 60% effective at preventing COVID in people who were at least 70 years old, while Pfizer was slightly above 60% in the same age group. 


It’s important to remember that there are countless reasons why an individual might develop blood clots, including natural occurrences. After all, people willingly use birth control every day knowing ultimately that the ever so slight risk remains incomparable to the overall benefit. 

I'm a 22 year old student from North Wales studying MA English Literature at the University of Aberdeen. You'll find me writing about anything and everything from the horrors of imposter syndrome to Phoebe Waller-Bridge's latest revelation.
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