Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine

Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine

New guidance has been issued for the use of the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

This follows further reviews by the independent regulator, the MHRA, and the Commission for Human Medicines, of a very small number of people in the UK who have developed a rare blood-clotting condition since having the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

The MHRA and Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations have emphasised that the risk of this condition is extremely small and that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people.  They have recommended that:

  • Everyone who has had the AstraZeneca vaccine should still have a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, irrespective of age, unless they have had a blood clot or have an existing risk of thrombosis (blood clotting)
  • People aged 30 and over or who have a health condition that puts them at higher risk of severe Covid-19 disease should still be offered the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.  The benefits in protecting them against the serious consequences of COVID-19 outweigh any risk of this rare condition.
  • People aged 18-29 who do not have a health condition that puts them at higher risk of severe Covid-19 disease will be offered an alternative Covid-19 vaccine where available.  (This has been recommended as a precaution as people under 30 are at less risk from Covid-19 and not because they are considered to be at particular risk of developing the rare blood clot.)
  • People under 30 can still choose to have the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine if this will mean they can be protected more quickly and they have been made aware of the guidance.

Please see the leaflet below that has been produced by Public Health England and the NHS to answer any questions you may have

Leaflet on COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting (EXTERNAL LINK)

Reviews confirm that Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine does not cause blood clots

Rigorous reviews from both the UK and European independent regulators into the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has confirmed that it does not increase the risk of people developing blood clots.

Separate reviews were carried out by Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the European Medicines Agency following reports of blood clots in a small number of people who had recently had the vaccine. However, both agencies, along with the World Health Organisation, had stressed from the outset that there was no evidence to suggest the blood clots have been caused by the vaccine and that it was safe to continue using it while the reviews were carried out.

Their findings reflected those of AstraZeneca’s own review of data from more than 17 million people vaccinated in the UK and European Union. This showed that there had been 37 reports of blood clots, which is fewer than would be expected to occur naturally in this number of people. The MHRA review also looked at data for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and confirmed there was no link to either vaccine causing  blood clots.

Over 21 million people in England have now been vaccinated, with latest research showing that the vaccines are extremely effective at preventing serious illness and death from Covid-19.

The vaccines are the only protection available against the serious illness caused by Covid-19, which has sadly led to the death of millions of people around the world. People will continue to be at risk from the disease if they do not take up the offer of a vaccine so it is very important to have yours when you are invited.

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