British woman dies after having AstraZeneca vaccine in Cyprus

The 39-year-old was taken to hospital a few days after her first Covid injection

A member of the medical team at the Nicosia General Hospital where patients suffering from the COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus are treated, walks from the intensive care unit toward the monitoring and recovery section, as a red gate is seen outside bearing the Ancient Greek inscription "Molon labe", in the Cypriot capital on April 29, 2020. - The Ancient Greek phrase "Molon labe" is attributed to King Leonidas I of Sparta before the battle of Therompylae (480 BC) during the Greco-Persian Wars, when the Persians reportedly asked the Greek side to surrender their weapons prompting the reply "come and take them" as a sign of defiance. (Photo by Iakovos Hatzistavrou / AFP)
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A British woman has died in a Cypriot hospital after suffering a blood clot days after she received the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, the official Cyprus News Agency reported on Monday.

The woman, 39, received her first dose of the vaccine on May 6 in the resort town of Paphos on the western coast of the Mediterranean island.

She was treated in Nicosia General Hospital's intensive care unit after suffering thrombotic symptoms a few days later.

The European Medicines Agency will investigate the death, said Charalambos Charilaou, spokesman for the Cypriot health service.

A passenger plane approaches Larnaca airport before landing as a woman walks past sunbeds at Makenzy Beach in the southern Cypriot port city on May 23, 2021. A 39-year-old British woman died in a Cypriot hospital as a result of  a blood clotting incident after receiving the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, the official Cyprus News Agency said May 24, 2021. / AFP / Etienne TORBEY

Cyprus health authorities have opened an investigation to see if the "serious thrombotic episode" was linked to the AstraZeneca shot.

They are also investigating four other cases of "mild" blood clotting incidents, three of which occurred after an AstraZeneca shot and one after a Pfizer-BioNTech injection.

Some countries restricted or dropped AstraZeneca shots from national vaccine campaigns because of the very rare blood clotting side effect, although the EMA says the benefits still outweigh the risks.

AstraZeneca is the backbone of the vaccination programme in Cyprus, where family doctors are also allowed to administer the vaccine to anybody aged over 20.

But many people booking online to get vaccinated have preferred other shots over the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Cyprus has the third highest vaccination rate in the European Union, having administered 57.54 doses per 100 people, according to Our World in Data.
Almost 49 per cent of Cyprus' adult population has received a Covid-19 vaccine, and 21 per cent are fully vaccinated.
The country has reported 71,911 Covid-19 infections and 354 deaths since the pandemic began in March last year.