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Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine blood clot risk just 0.000095% as Brits urged to keep getting jabbed

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BRITS have been urged to keep getting jabbed after a review gave just a 0.000095 per cent chance of a blood clot from the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Under-30s will now be offered other shots as a “course correction” after experts found a “reasonably plausible” link.

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A review gave just a 0.000095 per cent chance of a blood clot from the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

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A review gave just a 0.000095 per cent chance of a blood clot from the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

But with 32million getting their first jab, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam insisted the rollout offers our best hope of returning to normality.

Brits were reassured that the chance of blood clots from the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab were “vanishingly rare”.

The measured words from England’s deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam came as other experts agreed the risk of serious side-effects remained minuscule.

There were just 79 cases and 19 deaths after 20million doses were given, a review by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency found yesterday.

It means the risk of dying from the jab is 0.000095 per cent.

Three of the deaths were people under 30.

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam insisted the rollout offers our best hope of returning to normality

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Prof Jonathan Van-Tam insisted the rollout offers our best hope of returning to normalityCredit: PA

Yesterday, it was announced that age group would get alternative jabs — with priority for Pfizer or Moderna doses or the one-shot Janssen due this summer.

Experts said the decision was taken out of the utmost caution rather than because of any serious safety concerns.

Nearly 32million Britons have now had a Covid jab — by far the highest rate in Europe.

Visiting a holiday park in Perranporth, Cornwall, PM Boris Johnson yesterday assured the nation the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was still “safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives”.

Professor Van-Tam stressed the minuscule chance of clots, adding: “You can’t pick these kinds of things up until you have literally deployed tens of millions of doses.”

He said the under-30s move was a simple “course correction”.

‘ENORMOUS SUCCESS’

He added: “This is a massive beast that we are driving along at enormous pace with enormous success, this vaccine programme.

“If you sail a massive liner across the Atlantic then it’s not really reasonable that you aren’t going to have to make at least one course correction during that voyage.”

He said vaccines continued to be the way back to normality and the best chance of reopening the economy in the shortest time possible.

Prof Van-Tam said it would be “pretty absurd” to follow the example of some European nations and withhold the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab from middle-aged people.

The risk of clotting from the jab — 79 in 20million doses, or one per 250,000 — is tiny compared to other medical emergencies.

Two in every 1,000 women are likely to develop a blood clot during or after pregnancy. Three per cent of plane passengers also run the risk.

And nearly eight per cent of Covid patients develop lung clots, while 11 per cent suffer deep vein thrombosis.

The risk of clotting from the jab — 79 in 20million doses, or one per 250,000 — is tiny compared to other medical emergencies

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The risk of clotting from the jab — 79 in 20million doses, or one per 250,000 — is tiny compared to other medical emergencies

Mr Johnson, who has had the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab himself, said the vaccination programme has built a “defensive shield” around the country which has finally sent Covid into retreat.

He said our world-leading rollout would continue full-steam ahead despite the latest news.

And in a boost to the nation’s spirits, he said the country is on target to lift lockdown on time.

The PM said he will follow experts’ advice when it comes to deciding who gets what vaccine.

He added: “As the regulators have said the vast majority of people should continue taking this vaccine when offered.

“We will follow the updated advice, which should allow people of all ages to continue to have full confidence in vaccines, helping us save lives and cautiously return towards normality.”

Boris Johnson assured the nation the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was still 'safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives'

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Boris Johnson assured the nation the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was still ‘safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives’Credit: Reuters
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said people should get their jab when invited

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said people should get their jab when invitedCredit: PA

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said people should get their jab when invited, adding: “The AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, effective and saving thousands of lives.”

Health chiefs said 51 out of the 79 clots were in women, though they had received more jabs.

Bosses stressed the contraceptive pill and HRT were in no way connected to the rare side-effect.

The MHRA said its review had found a “reasonably plausible” link between the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab and clots.

‘RISK EXTREMELY SMALL’

Boss Dr June Raine said the evidence was “firming up” but cases were still extremely rare.

She added: “Based on the current evidence, the benefits of the vaccine against Covid and its associated risks — hospitalisation and death — continues to outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people.

“Our review has reinforced that the risk of this rare suspected side effect remains extremely small.”

Yesterday the European Medicines Agency (EMA) also issued fresh guidance — saying clots should be listed as a “very rare” side effect of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.

 

 

It ruled the benefits of the vaccine far exceeded the “minuscule” risk, and did not recommend withdrawing it.

EMA chief Emer Cooke said: “We looked at this in a lot of detail and the evidence does not allow us to draw any link between gender or age group.

“I cannot comment on the UK’s decision to restrict this vaccine among a certain age group, and do not know what it is based on.”

She added: “Every day Covid is causing thousands of deaths across Europe. This vaccine has proven to be highly effective and is saving lives.

“The risk of mortality from Covid is much greater than the risk of mortality from the side effects.”

The EMA found the severe blood clots — known as cerebral venous thrombosis — occurred mostly in women below 60.

All were reported within 14 days of the first jab.

Q&A

Q: Is the AstraZeneca vaccine dangerous?

A: It may cause blood clots in a tiny number of people but the benefits far outweigh the risk.

Q: How risky is it?

A: Serious blood clots are “vanishingly rare”, affecting just one in 250,000. You’re almost as likely to be killed by a cow (one in 300,000), and far more likely to die in a car crash (one in 20,000) this year.

Q: I’ve had AZ jab, am I at risk?

A: All serious blood clots have been reported within 14 days of first jab. None have been among patients who’ve had second shot.

Q: Why isn’t it being given to young people?

A: The benefit of a vaccine for healthy youngsters is tiny as they’re very unlikely to suffer most severe effects of Covid, so it doesn’t outweigh risk as much.

Q: I’m young, what if I’m offered an AZ vaccine?

A: People younger than 30 will be offered another type of vaccine, if available, but can still have the AZ jab. The UK and EU medicines regulators say it is safe for people of all ages.

Q: Can I reduce risk of a blood clot by taking aspirin before jab?

A: Experts say this advice circulating on social media is a myth and may be harmful. Aspirin will not tackle the type of blood clot being investigated and may cause bleeding.

Q: What else causes blood clots?

A: The contraceptive pill is the biggest cause of serious clots. Covid-19 causes clotting — 7.8 per cent of patients get clots on the lungs, 11.2 per cent in the legs. Nearly a quarter of ITU patients get some kind of clot.

 

MHRA’s Dr June Raine says there’s a plausible link between AstraZeneca Covid vaccine and blood clots but more research needed for firm proof



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