British authorities should offer an alternative vaccine to AstraZeneca against covid-19 to people under the age of 30 due to the growing signs that it can cause thromboembolisms, the government support agency announced.
In a statement, the Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee [Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, JCVI] said that “it is preferable for adults under the age of 30 without underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk of severe covid-19 disease to receive an alternative vaccine” to Astra-Zeneca.
The decision was made after the British Medicines Agency (MHRA) regulator upgraded to 19 fatal cases out of 79 cases of people who developed this problem, of which 51 women and 21 men between 18 and 79 years old, against seven deaths out of 30 cases identified a long time ago. four days ago.
“While clinical tests allow us to assess normal effects, rarer effects are only detected when the vaccine is used on a large scale,” said MHRA director June Raine at a press conference.
In total, more than 21 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered in the country.
The official said that “monitoring systems have now detected a potential side effect of the AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine in an extremely lower number” of “very rare and specific cases of blood clots with a platelet count. [sanguíneas] low”.
However, he considered that more work is needed to establish without a doubt that it was the vaccine that caused these side effects and that, “based on current evidence, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine against covid-19 and the associated risks [à doença] such as hospitalization and death, continue to outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people “.
According to Raine, the risk of complications is now four in a million and said that only three of the 19 deaths were of people under 30 years of age.
Minutes earlier, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) also revealed that it concluded that there is a “possible relationship” between the covid-19 vaccine by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the formation of “very rare cases” of blood clots, but insisted on drug benefits.
On Tuesday, the University of Oxford announced the suspension of testing in children of the vaccine it developed with the Anglo-Swedish laboratory.
So far, British health and policy authorities have steadfastly defended the vaccine developed in the UK from criticism and reiterated that the benefits outweigh the risks.
However, doubts have accumulated, especially regarding the vaccination of the youngest, since most of those over 50 have already received the first dose.
Limiting the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine could hinder the vaccination campaign in the United Kingdom, the country with the most deaths attributed to covid-19 in Europe, almost 127,000 since the beginning of the pandemic.
As a precaution, several countries have decided to stop administering the vaccine below a certain age, such as France, Germany and Canada, while Norway and Denmark have completely suspended its use.