Concerns about the Oxford / AstraZeneca sting are being taken “very seriously” and “investigated very thoroughly,” said a professor of pediatrics at Bristol University who also sits on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI)
It comes after a trial conducted by Oxford University on children and adolescents was interrupted and the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regulators confirmed they are investigating a possible link between the sting and a rare form of blood clot .
This morning Adam Finn, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Bristol, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “What is special about them is that we are constantly seeing thrombosis, including thrombosis in the cerebral veins, but usually not associated with a low one Platelet count – this is a small blood cell that is involved in blood clotting – and that makes them noticeable and makes us think that this is something different and not the norm. “
Mr Finn said this meant they wanted to understand why this was causing and whether it was related to the vaccine.
According to Finn, there have been 30 cases of this type of blood clot and seven deaths in more than 18 million people who received the sting. He said this could “potentially” affect the introduction of the vaccine.
He said: “Those numbers were valid until March 24th and I think we’ll hear shortly what happened after that in terms of the number of cases, but we can assume there have been more in the meantime becomes.”
Stressing that the risk of Covid-19 for the elderly is greater and therefore likely to favor receiving the vaccine, Mr Finn added: “We urgently need to understand whether this risk / benefit balance exists, if it is a causal matter up when you get younger. “
He said it was important to keep the vaccination program going in order to lift lockdown restrictions.
When asked if different vaccines could be reserved for specific groups as more vaccines are being rolled out due to fears of blood clots in younger people, he told BBC Breakfast: “It certainly can. We’re seeing another vaccine (Moderna) and more vaccines are about to be approved and I know the UK has contracts for a whole range of different vaccines.
“Over time, we will be much more flexible about who can be offered what.
“On the flip side, if the plan to open things up and allow things to return to normal is to move on without another wave of the pandemic coming through, we need to keep the program going.
“So it’s a pretty tricky balancing act, getting the balance right, getting vaccines through … getting the right risk / benefit ratio for the people who come up.”
He urged people currently being offered the vaccine to take it, saying that the “risk / benefit ratio is very strong for receiving the vaccine”.
He said people could expect more information from regulators within 24 hours.
Mr Fin told BBC Breakfast that the blood clots that are of concern are linked to low platelet counts “which we don’t normally see in thrombosis, so they stand out and also go with cases we’ve heard of in other European countries “.
GP Dr. Ellie Cannon told the program that the rate for this type of blood clot was around one in 2.5 million people.
In contrast, she said that for 2.5 million 40-year-olds with Covid “we would expect about 2,000 deaths”, the risk of a clot is “incredibly rare”.
Ravi Gupta, professor of clinical microbiology at the Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Diseases, told Sky News the vaccination program should continue until more is known about blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine.
He said that people in their “20s, 30s, 40s and 50s” are at severe risk of Covid and that there is an argument that vaccination should continue in these people as the rate of this blood clot disorder is extremely low, although it is slightly increased against the background levels. “
He said vaccination of children was done to “mainly reduce community transmission” and therefore the decision to stop the study of them until more is known was “good practice”.
When asked if he would take the bump, he said, “I think that’s balanced for now – there is still transmission of Covid and there is a risk for all of us to get infected, especially if that Economy opens and society If we open we run the risk of serious infection.
“So, in the current situation, I would certainly go for this vaccine.”
And a government minister has said it is safer to get the Oxford / AstraZeneca shock than not to be vaccinated.
Small Business Secretary Paul Scully told Times Radio, “The regulator doesn’t regulate drugs it believes are unsafe.
“There is absolutely all the evidence that if you take the vaccine you will be safer. You are more likely to survive, live, stay healthy.
“And this is the way out of our pandemic.
“So my message is this: if you are invited like me and I have had my first thrust, please get it.”
And the wise scientist Professor Calum Semple said he was “not a bit concerned” about the headlines surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine.
In a personal capacity, he told LBC Radio: “I’ll take myself, I’m 53 years old, my risk of death from Covid is around one in 13,000, it’s child’s play for me, I need the vaccine. ”
He later added, “This vaccine is safe. What do I mean by safe? You can look right, look left, look right again, cross a street, it’s safe to cross because you don’t see any cars (but) you can trip, you can trip.
“Nothing is risk-free, but is the vaccine safe? I would say yes. “
Meanwhile, the former chief executive of the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) has stated that he has “no reservations” about the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Professor Sir Kent Woods told LBC Radio: “The risks of Covid are much higher.
“The reason it is so difficult to be sure whether or not there is a cause and effect association between the vaccine and these thrombotic events, these clotting events, even in younger people, is because such clotting events occur in the EU anyway. “
He added, “It’s not an unknown event.”