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UK regulator advises under 30s shouldn’t be offered Oxford vaccine

The UK regulator says people under 30 should be offered a Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine instead of Oxford/AstraZeneca.

The decision from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation follows a review of the Oxford jab by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

It came in the wake of concerns raised across Europe about the link between the vaccine and blood clots.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) confirmed seven of those people had died as of March 24.

A news briefing was held at the Department for Health this afternoon.

The link between the vaccine and blood clots is “getting firmer” but absolute proof would “need extensive scientific work”, scientists at the briefing said.

“Based on the current evidence, the benefits of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 and its associated risks of hospitalisation and deaths continue to outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people,” said Dr June Raine, Chief Executive for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

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

She added that after more than 20 million doses up to and including March 31, there were 79 reports of blood clots reported to the MHRA.

Of these reports, 19 people died. The risk was said to be four people per million.

Anyone who has the following symptoms four days or more after vaccination is asked to seek “prompt medical advice”:

  • New onset of a severe or persistent headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Leg swelling
  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Unusual skin bruising
  • Pinpoint spots beyond the injection side

Sir Munir Pirmohamed, chairman of the Committee of Human Medicines said that pregnant women should “continue to seek the advice of healthcare professionals about whether the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks for them”.

“People with a history of blood disorders or an increased risk of blood clotting should also consider whether the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

“Anyone who experienced cerebral or any other major blood clots, occurring together with low levels of platelets after the first vaccine should not have their second dose.”