DON’T PANIC ABOUT THE ASTRAZENECA VACCINE
With under-30s set to receive an alternative immunisation, here’s everything you need to know
Last week it was announced that under-30s in the UK are to be offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, due to evidence linking it to extremely rare blood clots. Understandably this has made many of us wary of the vaccine, particularly those who have already had their first dose and those over 30. But medical experts are keen to reassure the public that the vaccine is still safe and that the chance of blood clots is extremely low.
The recommendation comes after the UK drugs regulator MHRA found 79 cases of a rare blood clot – including 19 deaths – from the 20 million doses already administered, and they concluded that while this was not proof the jab had caused the clots, the link was getting stronger. But the recommendation of an alternative vaccine for the 18-29 age group is to be extra cautious, because their risk from COVID itself is very low. With the rest of the adult population, the benefits of the vaccine is thought to vastly outweigh the small risk.
Dr June Raine, CEO of
MHRA, said the risk was “extremely small” adding,
“The evidence is firming up. While it is a strong possibility, more work is needed to establish beyond all doubt that the vaccine has caused this side-effect.”
Meanwhile Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine had “already saved thousands of lives” and the new advice should ensure people of all ages “continue to have full confidence in vaccines”, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock adding that the UK’s review confirmed that the OxfordAstraZeneca jab is “safe, effective and the benefits far outweigh the risks for the majority of adults”.
Meanwhile health officials are urging everyone who has had one dose of the OxfordAstraZeneca vaccine to still go ahead with their second – whatever their age.