Under-40s given alternative to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine over rare blood clot fears

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Published on 7 May 2021, 11:11
PEOPLE under 40 will be offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab due to blood clot fears.

Officials said the move was “precautionary” and that the risk of a blood clot is still “extremely small”.

There have been 242 cases of blood clots reported from 28.5 million first doses and second doses of the AstraZeneca jab, according to a Government update on Thursday.

It means the overall chance is just 10 in a million.

Experts say the risks are massively outweighed by the jab’s benefits for most people.

But for the young and healthy, whose risk of severe Covid is very low, the balance is harder to judge.

It is already recommended that people younger than 30 are offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines instead.

The long-awaited announcement came from The Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), a panel of experts which advises the government, today.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 Chair for JCVI, said: “Safety remains our number one priority.

“We have continued to assess the benefit-risk balance of COVID-19 vaccines in light of UK infection rates and the latest information from the MHRA on the extremely rare event of blood clots and low platelet counts following vaccination.

“As Covid-19 rates continue to come under control, we are advising that adults aged 18 – 39 years with no underlying health conditions are offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, if available and if it does not cause delays in having the vaccine.

“The advice is specific to circumstances in the UK at this time and maximises use of the wide portfolio of vaccines available.

“The Covid-19 vaccines have already saved thousands of lives and the benefit for the majority of the population is clear – if you are offered the vaccine, you should take it.”

The vaccine-induced blood clots have been described as unusual. They occur in major arteries, including to the brain, combined with low blood platelets.

Only six cases have occurred after a second dose, according to the UK medicine regulator the MHRA.

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Under-40s WILL be offered alternative to AstraZeneca vaccine over rare blood clot fears
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