UK News Family of clot victim urge people to get AstraZeneca jab
Halting AZ jab in under-50s would slow UK roll-out by 75%
Vaccine delivery figures from Scotland that were leaked earlier this year show that the British-made jab makes up three-quarters of the UK's supplies - but it is at the centre of growing doubts. The UK's drug regulator is considering suspending the AstraZeneca vaccine in younger Britons over the blood clot fears, which could throw lockdown-easing plans into disarray. Officials have been probing the jab's safety and will unveil their findings in a televised 3pm press conference with England's deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam and other top health bosses.
The family of a lawyer who died from a blood clot after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine has joined the legion of voices encouraging people to still get the jab.
Britain's medical regulator yesterday announced the Oxford-developed shots would not be used for under-30s following extremely rare cases of clotting.
The MHRA said that out of some 20million people inoculated with the jab, 79 have suffered the clotting and 19 have died.
Neil Astles, 59, from Warrington, became the UK's first named victim after passing away on Easter Sunday following 10 days of head pains and loss of vision.
Adviser warns AstraZeneca jab is 'vulnerable' to South African strain
The SAGE adviser warned while the strain had failed to take root in the UK it was behind up to 20 per cent of infections in some countries on the continent. The variant may be able to dodge immunity from jabs.The SAGE adviser - dubbed 'Professor Lockdown' because his gloomy modelling of the first wave spooked ministers into the spring shutdown - warned while the strain had failed to take root in the UK it was behind up to 20 per cent of infections in some countries on the continent.
But last night his grieving family echoed the assurances from politicians and experts and stressed that keeping faith with the AstraZeneca jab was critical to 'saving lives'.
'Despite what has happened to our family, we strongly believe that everyone should go for their first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine,' his sister, Dr Alison Astles, told the.
'Emotionally, we are completely and utterly furious. We are suffering. But there's nothing in our minds to be really furious about. My brother was just extraordinarily unlucky.'
'It's been a massive achievement': Former AstraZeneca board member defends firm over vaccine
A former AstraZeneca board member has told Sky News that she thinks the company has been unfairly criticised over its handling of the vaccine rollout. © Imagebridge The AstraZeneca vaccine has been rolled out across the world Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, who served on the board until five years ago, said she imagined those inside the company would be feeling they have "had a bit of a hard time" as multiple countries have changed their advice on who should receive the jab.
Ministers, MPs, watchdogs and health officials yesterday blitzed the public with messages to shore up support for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Boris Johnson said: 'As the regulators have said, this vaccine is safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives – and the vast majority of people should continue to take it when offered.
'We will follow today's updated advice, which should allow people of all ages to continue to have full confidence in vaccines, helping us save lives and cautiously return towards normality.'
Sir Keir Starmer said: 'The AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, effective and saving thousands of lives.
'Trust in our doctors and scientists. When it is your turn to get the jab, do so. My first dose was AstraZeneca and I look forward to getting my second dose when it is offered.'
Professor Wei Shen Lim, coronavirus chairman for the vaccines committee, said: 'The Covid-19 vaccines have already saved thousands of lives and the benefit for the majority of the population is clear – if you are offered a vaccine, you should take it.'
Britain backs the Oxford jab: 81% DO trust vaccine, poll reveals
Blood clots linked to the Oxford Covid vaccine have had virtually no effect whatsoever on public confidence, an exclusive poll for the Mail reveals. The number of people who say they would be unlikely to or would refuse to have a jab has gone down by one per cent since the concerns emerged.Among under 30s – the group most at risk – the number who take this view has gone up by a minuscule one percentage point. And among the millions who have had their first Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, just one in 50 will refuse a second one. Seven out of ten parents say they would be happy for their children to have it.
The blizzard of messages came after the MHRA announced at a press conference that those aged 18-29 will not be offered a first dose of the AstraZeneca jab, limiting them to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that are currently on stream.
Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam underscored the improbability of suffering blood clots because of the AstraZeneca jab - 0.000095 per cent - and that the benefit of vaccines far outweigh the risks.
Dr Astles, a pharmacist at the University of Huddersfield, agreed: 'If we all have the vaccine, a few of us might have a blood clot but the evidence is that fewer people will die.'
She said that her brother, a married solicitor with Warrington Council who kept himself fit and healthy, developed a headache about a week after his March 17 jab.
His symptoms worsened and he was taken to A&E at the Royal Liverpool hospital, before being admitted to intensive care.
Dr Astles explained that her brother suffered cerebral sinus thrombosis and subarachnoid haemorrhage - a bleed on the brain - that killed him on the evening of Easter Sunday.
Oxford jab blood clot concerns: MHRA and JCVI to hold news conference at 3pm
Blood clot concerns linked to the Oxford vaccine will be addressed by the UK's drugs watchdog at a news conference this afternoon. © PA Use of the jab for younger Britons has been reviewed following concerns about rare blood clots The briefing, together with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), will be held at the Department of Health at 3pm.
Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, chairman of the Commission on Human Medicines, said: 'The early evidence suggests that this constellation of symptoms is caused by an immune response against platelets which allows the platelets to then lead to clotting in different parts of the body.
'But what we don't have clearly is the link between the vaccine and how the immune response becomes activated against the platelets.'
He said any risks from the jab had to be set against the fact around 30 per cent of people with Covid suffer low blood platelet counts, while Covid also 'causes clotting'.
Some 7.8 per cent of people with Covid suffer blood clots on the lungs, while 11.2 per cent will suffer deep vein thrombosis (DVT), he added.
He said there appears to be a 'slightly higher risk in the younger age group' of clots after the AstraZeneca vaccine, but the reason is 'not clear' with further work required.
Separately, a review by the European Medicines Agency concluded on Wednesday that 'unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects' of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Emer Cooke, executive director of EMA, said its review 'confirmed that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19 overall outweigh the risk of side effects', adding: 'Vaccination is extremely important in helping us in the fight against Covid-19.'
Thirty blood clot cases reported in UK after 18 million Oxford jabs .
Thirty blood clotting cases were reported in the UK after the first 18 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the medicines regulator has said. © Associated Press The benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks, says the MHRA The figure is 25 more than previously reported.The count was updated as part of a rolling review into Britain's COVID vaccines, with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency stressing the benefits of the jab "far outweigh any known side effects".