Covid: Under-30s offered alternative to AstraZeneca jab

Clinical Pharmacist Ellie Morton prepares to administer the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine at the community vaccination centre at Kingston University's Penrhyn Road campus on March 12, 2021

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Under-30s are to be offered an alternative Covid jab to the AstraZeneca vaccine due to the evidence linking it to rare blood clots, the UK’s vaccine advisory body says.

A review by the drugs regulator MHRA found by the end of March 79 people in the UK suffered rare blood clots after vaccination – 19 of whom died.

The regulator said this was not proof the jab had caused the clots.

But it said the link was getting firmer.

The regulator said the side-effects were extremely rare and the vaccine’s effectiveness was proven.

It said it meant the benefits of taking the vaccine were still very favourable for the vast majority.

But they conceded it was more finely balanced for younger people because the risk from Covid was so much lower.

The review prompted the government’s vaccine advisory group, the JCVI, to recommend that people aged 18 to 29 be offered an alternative vaccine where available.

People who have had their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should still get their second dose. Only those who suffered one of these rare blood clots after the first dose should not get vaccinated, the MHRA said.

People with blood disorders that leave them at risk of clotting should discuss the benefits and risks of vaccination with their doctor before going for a jab.

Nearly two-thirds of the cases of rare clots were seen in women. The people who died were aged between 18 and 79.

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