The European Medicines Agency has established a link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, but has assured the benefits outweigh the risks of getting the jab.
The EMAl, alongside the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI) have noted the possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a rare blood clot known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST).
The agencies have published their findings to ensure that the public has all the relevant information on the health benefits and risks of the vaccines that are currently being distributed.
The UK’s JCVI has said that those under the age of 30 will be offered either Pfizer or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines, after there were 79 reports of blood clots out of a sample size of more than 20 million vaccines administered.
Of those 79 reports, 19 individuals died from that regulators say could be linked to blood clots and low blood platelets stemming from the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The European Medicines Agency has noted 169 reports of the rare blood clot in the more than 34 million people that had recently received AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.
As a result, both medical regulators are saying that the rewards of receiving the vaccine far outweigh the risks of not being immunised to COVID-19, and have each said that the vaccine is safe for use in all age groups.
The EMA’s Executive Director, Emer Cooke has said that the risk of dying from COVID-19 is “much greater” than being susceptible to the rare side effects of the jab.
“It is very important that we use the vaccines we have to try and beat this pandemic,” she added.
Chair of the EMA’s Safety Committee, Sabine Straus has said that “what we are trying to do is provide all the information that is available on both the benefits and the risks.”
COVID-chair of the UK’s JCVI, Wei Shen Lim has said that the risk of young people developing the rare blood clot are extremely unlikely, however, advocated for those under 30 to receive an alternate vaccine where available.
“We are not advising a stop to any vaccination for any individual in any age group. We are advising a preference for one vaccine over another vaccine for a particular age group, really out of the utmost caution, rather than because we have any serious safety concerns.”
Link Established Between AstraZeneca Vaccine and Rare Blood Clots
The agencies will continue to research any possible links between the vaccine and unexpected side effects, but say the public should remain confident in the AstraZeneca jab’s ability to immunise the COVID-19 virus, which has a significantly higher mortality rate than the reported blood clots.
The developer of the vaccine has said its research noted no higher risk of blood clots in those that had been vaccinated over the general public.
The AstraZeneca vaccine remains one of the most popular options when compared to vaccines produced by Pzifer and Moderna, which require extreme refrigeration and a more complicated supply chain.
It is the vaccine of choice for the UK, continental Europe and Australia, as well as the developing world due to its price and the ease of supply chain management.