British authorities have recommended the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine to adults under 30. The regulator however pointed out that this was not proof that the jab brought about blood clotting neither were they ruling out the possibility.
Under 30-year-olds in the UK will be given alternative vaccines to AstraZeneca as medical experts are swayed by increasing ‘rare’ evidence of a link to blood clotting. This recommendation was prompted by a review by the UK’s drug administrator after recording 79 cases of people suffering rare blood clots, 19 of whom died eventually.
The UK’s MHRA revealed that out of 20 million doses issued, 19 deaths arose out of 79 blood clot cases. This created a scenario where 4 out of 1 million people would develop a blood clot and one in a million chances of death. Two-thirds of the cases of blood clots were recorded in women while those who died fell between the ages of 18 and 79 with 3 aged below 30 years.
All cases were recorded after the first dose but the results are still deemed inconclusive given the low number of people who have had their second dose. The EU’s medicine regulator still believes that the benefits of the AstraZeneca jab still outweigh its risks. This has prompted some EU countries to restrict its use altogether. The EMA has not advocated for any such age restrictions and has left the decision of use to individual member countries.
The new developments do not work in AstraZeneca’s favor as several countries globally have already halted its use. In Europe, it was about 12, most of which have restarted with some form of age restriction. Many other nations will closely watch the developments. Given AstraZeneca is cheaper and easier to store than others a lot of deliberation will have to take place before any blanket termination is agreed upon. The vaccine is at the centerpiece of the UN’s COVAX program that looks to send vaccines to some of the world’s poorest countries.
The EU and U.K health regulators held news conferences on Wednesday to give their informed findings on the reports of blood clots. Dr. Sabine Straus, who chairs the German Safety Committee, where he pointed out German data where there was a 1 in a 100,000 case of blood clotting per dose given. When contrasted with other clot risks faced by women such as birth control pills, it still ranks lower.
Over 25 million across the UK have received the AstraZeneca jab. AstraZeneca urged that the vaccine labels be modified to warn people of “extremely rare” or potential side effects. It’s worth noting that both reviews affirmed the vaccine’s high level of protection against severe forms of Covid-19, pointing out how the benefits outweigh the risks. The vaccine company has had to continuously defend its effectiveness creating worries of possible permanent damage in credibility resulting in reluctancy in uptick and a prolonging of the pandemic.
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