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Brits urged to get Covid vaccine despite suspensions elsewhere

AstraZeneca insists that it is safe, citing a review of available data in more than 17 million people who have been vaccinated across the UK and EU has shown no evidence of an increased risk.

Brits are being encouraged to get their Covid vaccine despite more countries temporarily suspending the use of the AstraZeneca jab amid concerns about blood clots.

AstraZeneca insists that it is safe, citing a review of available data in more than 17 million people who have been vaccinated across the UK and EU has shown no evidence of an increased risk.

Brits urged to get Covid vaccine despite suspensions elsewhere

On Sunday, Ireland announced that it was suspending use of the vaccines as a “precautionary step”, the UK’s medicines regulator said the available evidence “does not suggest the vaccine is the cause” of clots.

Vaccines safety lead at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Dr Phil Bryan, said people “should still go and get their Covid-19 vaccine when asked to do so.”

Northern Ireland’s department of health said the rollout there will continue, “in line with MHRA guidance”.

The Republic’s health minister Stephen Donnelly said use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab was being temporarily suspended “based on new information from Norway”.

The decision comes after reports of serious clotting in Norway which hospitalised four people. The Netherlands also said on Sunday that it was suspending the AstraZeneca jab as a precaution for two weeks. Several other European countries have already temporarily suspended use of the jabs. Thailand is the only country outside of Europe to halt its usage.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has declared that the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks and that vaccines can keep being administered while it looks into any blood clots – adding that last week there had only been 30 cases reported among almost five million people who had received jabs in the European Economic Area.

AstraZeneca stated that its review had found no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country.

Dr Taylor said: “Around 17 million people in the EU and UK have now received our vaccine, and the number of cases of blood clots reported in this group is lower than the hundreds of cases that would be expected among the general population. The nature of the pandemic has led to increased attention in individual cases and we are going beyond the standard practices for safety monitoring of licensed medicines in reporting vaccine events, to ensure public safety.”

Dr Bryan said: “We are aware of the action in Ireland. We are closely reviewing reports but given the large number of doses administered, and the frequency at which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause. People should still go and get their Covid-19 vaccine when asked to do so.”

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