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The cases of rare thrombosis have risen to 76 and the deaths recorded in the United Kingdom have risen to 19 among the approximately 20 million people who have so far used the Covid vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and produced by AstraZeneca. This was announced today in an updated report by the MHRA, the British drug authority, while reiterating that at the moment a cause-effect relationship is not proven.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s advisory body has still recommended offering a different vaccine to people under 30.
“There is a strong possibility that these extremely rare side effects are caused by the vaccine,” AstraZeneca said June Raine, chief executive of the drug regulatory agency, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. “No effective vaccine or medicine is without risk,” he added, but “the rare side effects only become evident when they are given to large numbers of people; and we – he pointed out – have given the dose to over 20 million people ”.
The recommendation of the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunization is broadly in line with what is already happening in Europe, where some countries have already chosen to limit the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine to older groups precisely out of concern that these may occur rare blood clot events associated with low platelets.
In the UK, the government is still preparing to give the second dose to those who have already had the first with the AstraZeneca vaccine (except of course those who have had clotting episodes, which need not have been serious).