It has ‘not been confirmed’ that any blood clots have been caused by the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine and people should still go and get their jab when called, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has said.
The statement from the UK regulator comes as Ireland has become the latest European country to suspend use of the vaccine while investigating reports.
Dr Phil Bryan, MHRA vaccines safety lead said: ‘We are aware of the action in Ireland.
‘We are closely reviewing reports but given the large number of doses administered, and the frequency at which blood clots can occur naturally, the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause.
‘People should still go and get their Covid-19 vaccine when asked to do so.’
The MHRA said more than 11 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine had been given so far in the UK and reports of blood clots received were not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the general population.
A statement from AstraZeneca said a careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the EU and UK ‘has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country.’
It added that to date there had been 15 events of DVT and 22 events of pulmonary embolism reported among those given the vaccine – much lower than would be expected in the general population and a similar rate to reports from other licensed vaccines.
The Netherlands and Ireland suspending use of the AstraZeneca vaccine followed similar moves from other countries including Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, and Iceland. Italy and Austria suspended use of certain batches as a precaution.
Experts from the World Health Organization have said countries should not stop using AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine because there is no evidence of a link between the jab and blood clots.
UK doctors have urged patients to take up the offer of vaccination when it is their turn.
Following the news that Ireland was to suspend use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, BMA Northern Ireland GP Committee chair Dr Alan Stout said: ‘It is very important that anyone in Northern Ireland who has a vaccine appointment scheduled keeps it and attends as planned.
‘We are confident that the vaccine is extremely safe to use and it is one of the key facets of our fight against Covid-19.
‘Your GP is ideally placed to discuss any concerns you have around the vaccine when you come for your appointment.