England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer has insisted that the AstraZeneca bump be safe.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said there was no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots from the bite due to concerns in Europe about its safety.
And he compared the side effects of the vaccine to the side effects of an everyday product like acetaminophen, which didn’t detract from the tremendous benefits the drug brings to most people.
He said that “vaccines don’t save lives when they’re in refrigerators”.
This was an indication of what was happening in parts of Europe after vaccination programs were suspended after claims the vaccine could cause blood clots – a claim that many experts have denied.
“There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to see if there is a signal regarding what we call venous thromboembolic events, clots, or VTE,” he said in a meeting on Downing Street.
“There is now much evidence that is comforting that overall there is no excessive signaling or increased risk.”
“Without prejudice to their absolute results, I expect that in due course these will be the final conclusions of the EMA and MHRA.
“So no evidence of an increased risk, but as you heard from Professor Ramsay [who was also at tonight’s press conference], lots of evidence that the vaccine actually saves lives.
“This is the really important thing that we are moving forward and I think from the enthusiasm of the patients I have vaccinated I see the enthusiasm of the British people to move this forward.”
“Because vaccines don’t save lives when they’re in refrigerators. They only save lives when they’re in guns, and that’s a really important fact.”
He compared the risk of the vaccine to the risk of taking acetaminophen to illustrate that there were always problems that needed to be weighed against the benefits of medication.
He said there were rare side effects like rash, mouth pain, fever and difficulty breathing.
“These are rare side effects of acetaminophen,” he said.
“But we all understand the benefits, and that’s no different situation.”