The events of the past 24 hours have left many concerned and uncertain about the safety of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.
After days of speculative media coverage, European drug regulators on Wednesday confirmed a possible link between the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, and UK officials have recommended people under the age of 30 take alternative vaccines.
While the European Medicines Agency and its UK counterpart acknowledged that a growing body of evidence pointed to a link, they both pointed out that the chances of clots forming were still very low and that the vaccine was still very effective for it. prevent Covid-19.
The EMA’s decision was based on 18 deaths in 62 cases of coagulation in the sinuses that drain blood from the brain and 24 cases of coagulation in the abdomen. The cases were reported to an EU database from European countries, including the UK, where around 25 million people have received the vaccine.
The European regulator has advised that the vaccine still be used normally, while the UK has advised people under 30 to receive a different vaccine. The reason is that, as the age group gets younger, the chances of serious illness or death from Covid-19 decrease, which means that the margin between benefits and risks narrows.
The UK government is already fighting back in hopes that Wednesday’s news will not lead to hesitation over vaccines. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock tried to reassure Britons this morning that the vaccine rollout was going “in the safest way possible”.
“Please be reassured that we are taking great caution,” Hancock told Sky News on Thursday. “All three vaccines used in the UK are safe, and they are safe at any age. But there is a preference for those under 30, if they want to have the Pfizer or Moderna jab instead. ”
The Daily Telegraph newspaper even found and talked to a man’s family who died of a blood clot after receiving the vaccine, saying they still believe people should take the vaccine when given the chance.
This story, of course, has implications beyond the UK, and developments in the coming days will be very important in the global fight against the coronavirus. Many developing countries depend on the AstraZeneca vaccine to get out of the pandemic.