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Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid jab linked to 79 blood clot cases and 19 deaths

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Regulators said the jab was linked to 30 cases of blood clots and seven deaths a week ago (Picture: Getty Images)

The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine has been linked to 79 cases of blood clots and 19 deaths out of the 20 million people who have been given the jab across the UK.

This is a slight increase on the 30 cases and seven deaths out of 18.1 million doses reported last week.

A total of 51 women and 21 men aged between 18 and 79 had blood clots after a first dose of the vaccine.

Fourteen of the 19 people who died had cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a type of clot that prevents blood from draining from the brain. It has not been established what the cause was in every case.

The news comes as both UK and EU health bosses say the benefits of the jab continue to outweigh any risks for most people.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK has not concluded that the vaccine causes rare clots, although it says the link is getting firmer.

British experts have recommended that under 30s are offered the Pfizer or Moderna jabs instead of AstraZeneca.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Dr June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA said the clots are ‘extremely rare’.

19 people in the UK have died from blood clots after AZ vaccine

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A comparison of harms and benefits between getting the vaccine in people with high exposure risk (Picture: Oxford/AstraZeneca)
A comparison of harms and benefits between getting the vaccine in people with medium exposure risk (Picture: Oxford/AstraZeneca)
The same chart for people with low exposure risk (Picture: Oxford/AstraZeneca)

She said: ‘The balance of benefits and risks is very favourable for older people but it is more finely balanced for the younger people and we at the MHRA are advising that this evolving evidence should be taken into account when considering how the vaccine is used.’

Addressing reporters, she added: ‘The evidence is firming up and our review has concluded that while it’s a strong possibility, more work is needed to establish beyond all doubt that the vaccine has caused these side effects.’

Meanwhile, a review by the European Medicines Agency’s safety committee has concluded that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective, but unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as a ‘very rare side effect’.

Executive director Emer Cooke told a Brussels press briefing today: ‘Covid-19 is a very serious disease with high hospitalisation and death rates and everyday Covid is still causing thousands of deaths across the EU.

‘This vaccine has proven to be highly effective – it prevents severe disease and hospitalisation, and it is saving lives.

‘Vaccination is extremely important in helping us in the fight against Covid-19 and we need to use the vaccines we have to protect us from the devastating effects.

‘The PRAC, after a very in-depth analysis, has concluded that the reported cases of unusual blood clotting following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine should be listed as possible side effects of the vaccine.’

This is a breaking story – more follows.

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