Is Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine safe? All your questions answered

EU: Former health secretary grilled on stored vaccine doses

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Covid vaccinations are continuing around the world, and are the key to resuming normal life, easing lockdown restrictions and preventing further deaths. There are a number of vaccinations in circulation, but concerns have been mounting over the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine – with several cases of blood clots reported.

Britain’s medicines regulator has said there had been five cases of a rare type of blood clot in the brain among 11 million given AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine but said that it found the benefits of the shot far outweighed any possible risks.

In total five men in the UK have suffered an “extremely rare” blood clot problem after having the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, though no causal link with the jab has been established, the medicines regulator has said.

The men, aged 19 to 59, have experienced a specific type of blood clot in the brain together with low blood platelet count. One of the five has since died.

There are no details yet on whether any of them had underlying health conditions.

Read More: Is there a vaccine shortage in the UK? Did the EU cause it?

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it was looking at the reports but stressed the events were “extremely rare” and there was a possibility they could have been caused by Covid itself.

The MHRA said the cases represented a less than one-in-a-million chance of suffering this type of clot among those who have been vaccinated, while the risk of dying from Covid aged 40 to 49 is one in 1,000.

Is Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine safe?

Concerns about reports of blood clots, along with low platelet levels, have led some European countries including Germany to pause the rollout of the shot.

Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said use of the vaccine should continue while five reports were investigated, and one official said that the rollout would likely continue even if a link was proved.

June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive, referring to AstraZeneca and Pfizer shots said: “There is no evidence that blood clots in veins is occurring more than would be expected in the absence of vaccination, for either vaccine.”

Now The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab is a “safe and effective vaccine”.

The EMA executive director Emer Cooke announced this news at a press conference today.

The EMA said the benefits of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine “outweigh the possible risks”.

Ms Cooke told a press briefing: “The committee has come to a clear scientific conclusion.

“This is a safe and effective vaccine. Its benefits in protecting people from Covid-19, with the associated risks of death and hospitalisation, outweigh the possible risks.

“The committee also concluded that the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of thromboembolic events, or blood clots.”

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