LONDON, April 7 (Xinhua) – Britons aged 18-29 will be offered an alternative to AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine amid concerns over its potential link to the reporting of rare cases of blood clots, the UK government’s vaccination advisory body said on Wednesday.
This announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization follows a study of the vaccine developed with the University of Oxford conducted by the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The MHRA assured that side effects of AstraZeneca vaccine were extremely rare and that its effectiveness was established, adding that the benefits of the administration of this vaccine were still largely favorable for the majority of the population.
She nevertheless conceded that the new approach announced was better suited to young people because the risk from the coronavirus is much lower for them.
June Raine, managing director of the MHRA, said more than 20 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine have already been administered in the UK.
Even though clinical trials allow scientists to assess relatively common side effects, rare side effects can only be identified with large-scale vaccine use, she explained.
“The evidence is more and more tangible” but “we must continue to work to determine without any doubt” that the vaccine would have caused the extremely rare formation of blood clots, she added.
The UK is now also rolling out Pfizer’s vaccine and the first doses of Moderna’s were administered in Wales on Wednesday.
More than 31.6 million people have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, official figures show.
In order to get life back to normal, countries such as the UK, China, Russia and the US, as well as the European Union, have entered a race against time to deploy vaccines.