Bill Harvey: You’re in suspension
Author: Bill Harvey
In yet another week of variously misleading news reporting, we all heard about some quite frightening links between the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine and a rare form of blood clotting disease. Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), accompanied by a low platelet count, has been associated with the vaccine and reports suggest a higher risk among young and middle-aged women. Sadly, all too few reported the risk in context by comparing with the risks of Covid-19 disease itself, the lack of confirmation of a causal link, and a reminder of the levels of risks associated with all medicines.
I suggest it become compulsory for all eye health professionals carry the information leaflet found in packs of aspirin with them at all times. We will then be ready to contextualise any new associations as they come to light. Judging by recent meetings with students and trainees, there is still some significant ‘vaccine worry’ amongst our younger colleagues. And if information-giving is not enough for you, I hope you enjoy this week’s CET; it may inspire some of you to join the army of ECP vaccinators helping to resolve the current crisis.
Another positive outcome of the pandemic has been the easing of research and data, with Open Access to journals and earlier access to research findings. Discussions are now taking place to see if we need to return to the pre-pandemic situation. Many are arguing that the success of the vaccine programme should be enough to argue for a much more open and interconnected network for science. I could not agree more.
Talking of blood clots, you may not have noticed a recent paper establishing dry eye disease as being associated with abnormal retinal microvascular function and a possible risk factor for cardiovascular disease.1 Look out for a feature on this in our May 7 issue.