People under the age of 30 will be offered an alternative Covid-19 jab to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the UK’s vaccine advisory body has said.
A review by the MHRA found that by the end of last month, 79 people in the UK has suffered from blood clots following vaccination, with 19 of those people dying.
The regulator stressed that this was not proof that the jab was the cause of the clots but conceded that the link was getting stronger.
The review took place at 3pm on Wednesday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted the jab was safe.
The committee concluded that the benefits of the jab outweigh the risks, but as people under 30 are at less risk of coronavirus they should be offered an alternative jab.
Guidance from the government’s vaccine advisory group, JCVI has said that people under 30 under who have already received the jab should go ahead and receive their second dose.
Only people who suffered from blood clots after their first dose should avoid a second vaccine, the MHRA said.
In Europe, a review by the European Medicines Agency’s safety committee has concluded that “unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects” of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
The European Medicines Agency reiterated that the AstraZeneca vaccine had been “proven to be highly effective” and that vaccination as a whole is “extremely important” in the fight against Covid-19.
Executive director Emer Cooke told a Brussels press briefing: “First of all, I want to start by stating that our safety committee, the Pharmacovigilance and Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) of the European Medicines Agency, has confirmed that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19 overall outweigh the risks of side effects.
“Covid-19 is a very serious disease with high hospitalisation and death rates and everyday Covid is still causing thousands of deaths across the EU.
“This vaccine has proven to be highly effective – it prevents severe disease and hospitalisation, and it is saving lives.
“Vaccination is extremely important in helping us in the fight against Covid-19 and we need to use the vaccines we have to protect us from the devastating effects.
“The PRAC, after a very in-depth analysis, has concluded that the reported cases of unusual blood clotting following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine should be listed as possible side effects of the vaccine.”