AstraZeneca Covid vaccine linked to 19 deaths and 79 blood clots from 20 million doses in UK

THE Oxford/AstraZeneca has been linked to 19 deaths and 79 blood clots in the 20 million doses administered in the UK.

Britain's medicines regulator said these clots were "extremely rare" and were outweighed by the the benefits of the jab.

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Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said all 79 cases occurred after the first dose of the AZ jab.

Of the 79 cases, 51 were women and 28 were men.

And of the 19 who died, three were aged under 30 and all were between 18 and 79 years old.

Dr Raine said the "risk remains extremely small" despite "evidence firming" of links between the shot and blood clots.

She added the risk of this kind of "rare" side effect stands at about four in one million to those who receive the vaccine.

"This is extremely rare and the balance of benefits and known risks of the vaccine is still very favourable for the vast number of people," Dr Raine added.

But following the latest review, the MHRA said under-30s should be offered other vaccines – such as Pfizer and Moderna.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 Chair for Joint Committee Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said: "Safety remains our number one priority.

"Based on the available data and evidence, JCVI has advised that it is preferable for adults aged under 30 with no underlying conditions to be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine where available.

"This weighs up the risks of being seriously ill or dying from Covid-19 against the extremely small risk of a serious adverse event."

He added the change in preference for 18 to 29 year olds is out of "caution".

It comes after the UK trial in youngsters was paused over concerns, and the European Medical Agency's head of vaccines sparked crunch talks with claims of a definite but rare link.

This afternoon the EMA concluded that "unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects" of the jab.

It was also announced today that pregnant women can still get the AstraZeneca vaccine – but they must check with their GP first.

Today Boris Johnson urged Brits to carry on taking the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.

The PM said everyone who is offered the jab should take it and that the benefits of getting protected from Covid far outweigh any risks.

Speaking during a visit to Cornwall, he said the shot is "safe" but that "the crucial thing for everybody is to listen to what the scientists, the medical experts have to say".

Boris, who has had the AZ vaccine himself, said the UK’s successful jabs rollout has saved thousands of lives already.

And he also insisted that his roadmap out of lockdown is still on track.

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