BRITS have been reassured it’s safe to get the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine amid fears it’s behind fatal blood clots.
Denmark and Iceland have suspended use of the jab as a precautionary measure.
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The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine – being given to Derek Thomas from Middlesbrough on March 1 – is safe, the UK regulator has said amid fears of fatal blood clotsCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Five other European countries have stopped using doses from a specific batch under investigation.
But the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is confident in the Oxford-made vaccine, and is urging people to still accept it.
It comes after a small number of blood clot conditons were reported in people who had recently received the vaccine.
One patient died in Denmark 10 days after getting the jab.
The MHRA said: “It has not been confirmed that the report of a blood clot was caused by the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine.
“People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.”
Dr Phil Bryan, MHRA Vaccines Safety Lead, added: “The Danish authorities’ action to temporarily suspend use of the vaccine is precautionary whilst they investigate.
“Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon.
“More than 11 million doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca vaccine have now been administered across the UK.
“Reports of blood clots received so far are not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population.
“The safety of the public will always come first. We are keeping this issue under close review but available evidence does not confirm that the vaccine is the cause.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said: “We’ve been clear that it’s both safe and effective… and when people are asked to come forward and take it, they should do so in confidence.”
The UK has not been given supplies from the batch understood to be at the root of the investigation.
The European Medicines Agency – the first to raise the alarm of the blood clots – will be looking into whether the vaccines were the cause of the issue, or whether it is simply a coincidence.
There is no sign that blood clot-related illnesses are happening any more frequently than usual
It said “there is currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions, which are not listed as side effects with this vaccine”.
Adam Finn, a professor of paediatrics, University of Bristol, said: “When something bad happens after you have had a vaccination, it’s natural enough to wonder whether the vaccine was the cause.
“However, when very large numbers of people are being vaccinated over a short period of time, a certain number of unexpected and unusual illnesses are going to happen in the period following vaccination by chance.”
He said “there is no sign, anywhere, including the UK where very large numbers of doses have now been given, that blood clot-related illnesses are happening any more frequently than usual”.
There are a number of risk factors for blood clots.
In the UK, up to one in every 1,000 people are affected by a blood clot in the vein – known as venous thrombosis – each year.
The EMA said there had been 22 reports of blood clotting conditions among the three million who had been given the AstraZeneca jab.
Dr Jon Gibbins, a professor of cell biology at the Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, University of Reading, told The Sun the figure was “low”.
“Therefore, if there is a link between the vaccine and clotting, this risk is likely to be very small indeed.”
He added: “It is understandable that people are concerned, but so far the numbers of clots associated with this report are low.
“Of course it is important that this is looked into thoroughly, but at this point I am not overly concerned.”
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises the Government on the vaccine rollout strategy, encouraged Brits to keep getting their jabs.
Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman, said: “The public should have confidence that both vaccines used in the UK vaccination programme are safe and highly effective at preventing severe disease, including the prevention of blood clots caused by Covid.
“Vaccine safety is critically important. Our UK regulator, the MHRA, review all reports of adverse events for both vaccines as they are reported.”