UK regulator MHRA says people under 30 years could be offered alternatives to AZ-Oxford vaccine

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on April 07, 2021

The decision follows links to rare blood clots

The United Kingdom’s regulatory authority has changed tack a little on the AstraZeneca-OxfordUniversity’s Covid-19 vaccine and said people between 18 and 29 years be offered alternative vaccines.

The decision follows concerns over the rare blood clots seen in young people who were vaccinated, leading to several European countries and Canada, for instance, restricting the use of the vaccine to only those older than 55 or 65 years, depending on the country. In the UK, the other two alternative vaccines that could be offered are from Pfizer and Moderna.

In a briefing on Wednesday, a representative from the joint committee on vaccines and immunisation (JCVI) (that advices the UK Government), said that the recommendation was being given out of äbundant caution”, though there was no advice to stop the use of the vaccine.

The MHRA’s scientific review of UK reports of “extremely rare and unlikely to occur specific blood clots with lowered platelets” concluded that “the evidence of a link with Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is stronger but more work is still needed,” the MHRA said. Upto March 31, about 20.2 million doses of the said vaccine had been given in the UK meaning the overall risk of these blood clots is approximately 4 people in a million who receive the vaccine, it added.

This could have a ramification in India where the AZ vaccine, produced by Serum Institute of India is one of two being rolled out actively. India too is reviewing its adverse event reports following immunisation.

Till date the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the European Medicines Agency have maintained that the AZ-Oxford vaccines were safe and the benefits outweighed the risks. Both agencies held parallel briefings on the AZ vaccine and its possible links to rare blood clot concerns. on Wednesday.

The EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) concluded that “unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of Vaxzevria (formerly Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca).” The blood clots were also seen more in women, the representatives said.

Published on April 07, 2021

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