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UK regulator reports 30 cases of rare blood clot events after AstraZeneca jab

The Dutch government has today temporarily halted AstraZeneca vaccinations for people under 60.

Image: PA

THE UK REGULATOR has identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine but stressed today the benefits of the jab in preventing coronavirus outweigh any risks.

The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said that the risk associated with this type of blood clot is “very small” and that the public should continue to take up the vaccine when offered it.

The agency said it had identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events following use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, out of 18.1 million doses administered up to and including March 24.

Of these, it said it had received 22 reports of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and eight reports of other thrombosis events with low platelets.

The reports in the UK comes as the Dutch government has said it is temporarily halting AstraZeneca vaccinations for people under 60 following reports of a very small number of people suffering unusual blood clots after receiving the shot.

The Dutch decision comes three days after authorities in Germany also stopped using the AstraZeneca’s vaccine in the under-60s, also citing fresh concerns over unusual blood clots reported in a tiny number of those who received the shots.

Earlier today, a Dutch organisation that monitors vaccine side effects said it had received five reports of blood clots with low blood plate counts following vaccinations.

All the cases occurred between seven and 10 days after the vaccinations and all the people affected were women aged between 25 and 65 years.

The organisation said in the period when the five cases were reported, some 400,000 people were vaccinated in the Netherlands with the AstraZeneca shot.

Speaking about the blood clot  reports in the UK, Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol, said:

“The report states that these cases are being very carefully investigated to better understand whether or not they may have any causal relationship with vaccination.

“Nevertheless, the extreme rarity of these events in the context of the many millions of vaccine doses that have been administered means that the risk-benefit decision facing people who are invited to receive Covid-19 vaccines is very straight forward: receiving the vaccine is by far the safest choice in terms of minimising individual risk of serious illness or death.”

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Regulators said they had received no reports of such clotting events after the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The head of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said that there is “no evidence” to support restricting the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in any population.

The agency said a causal link between unusual blood clots in people who have had the vaccine is “not proven, but is possible”, adding that the benefits of the vaccine in preventing Covid-19 outweighed the risks of side effects.

This view is echoed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has urged countries to continue using the jab.

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