AstraZeneca: Expert says suspension could 'dent confidence'
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AstraZeneca has suffered a setback in Europe, where several countries, including the UK, have part or fully suspended doses of the company’s Covid vaccine candidate. The jab, which is one of the most effective in the world, has been associated with cases of blood clots. Although health authorities have denied the tenuous link between the cases and clots, reports have persuaded governments to throw caution to the wind.
Can I refuse the Oxford jab?
The Oxford-AstraZeneca jab is one of three currently on the market, each with an effectiveness rate of more than 90 percent.
Health officials will administer one of these candidates to people twice, spaced roughly 12 weeks apart.
Each vaccine provides the same effect, meaning there is no need to pick and choose who gets which.
Vaccine centres don’t prioritise specific doses, and people can’t request one either.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, said they are “all good choices”.
He added: “It is not possible for vaccination centres to choose the stock they are allocated and not possible for individuals to choose a vaccine.
“The vaccines we are using are all approved by the MHRA and they are all good choices.”
“The JCVI does not recommend any specific vaccines for specific patient groups.”
Health authorities have attempted to reassure people there is no cause for concern from the AstraZeneca jab, which remains safe and effective.
Of the now five million people who have received the jab, only 30 cases have experienced blood clots.
As Denmark, Norway and Iceland suspended doses of the jab, AstraZeneca and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) released their analysis of the situation.
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In a statement last week, the EMA said: “There is currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions, which are not listed as side effects with this vaccine.”
AstraZeneca said their clinical trial groups had a lower incidence of clotting compared to the general population.
The company said: “So far across the EU and UK, there have been 15 events of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and 22 events of pulmonary embolism reported among those given the vaccine, based on the number of cases the company has received as of 8 March.
“This is much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed COVID-19 vaccines.”
Vaccinated groups in the AstraZeneca trial also had fewer “thrombotic events”.
The company added: “Furthermore, in clinical trials, even though the number of thrombotic events was small, these were lower in the vaccinated group.
“There has also been no evidence of increased bleeding in over 60,000 participants enrolled.”
The number of adverse reactions reported by people during the AstraZeneca trial was low, with fewer than one percent of the 24,000 people affected.
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