Britain recommends non-AstraZeneca vaccine alternative to under-30s

Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 Chair for JCVI, said that based on the available data and evidence, the committee has advised that it is preferable for adults aged under 30 with no underlying conditions to be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine where available.


London:

Britain should not give Oxford University/AstraZeneca's vaccine to under 30s where possible, Britain's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said on Wednesday, due to a very rare side effect of blood clots in the brain. The Sun newspaper and Sky News reported they would be given Pfizer or Moderna instead.

Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 Chair for JCVI, said that based on the available data and evidence, the committee has advised that it is preferable for adults aged under 30 with no underlying conditions to be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine where available.

"We are not advising a stop to any vaccination for any individual in any age group. We are advising a preference for one vaccine over another vaccine for a particular age group, really out of the utmost caution, rather than because we have any serious safety concerns," he said at a briefing.

He said people should continue to have a second dose of the AstraZeneca shot if they had received a first dose.

It came after Britain's MHRA medicine regulator identified a possible side-effect from the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca involving rare brain blood clotting.

Chief executive June Raine said that the benefits of the shot outweighed the risks for the vast majority.

Meanwhile, the EU's drug regulator says it has found a possible link between the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and a rare clotting disorder but said that the benefits of the shot still outweigh risks.

In a statement released Wednesday, the European Medicines Agency placed no new restrictions on using the vaccine in people 18 and over.

Earlier this week, a senior official from the European Medicines Agency said there was a causal link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and the rare clots that have been seen in dozens of people worldwide, among the tens of millions who have received at least one dose of the shot.

Marco Cavaleri, head of health threats and vaccine strategy at the Amsterdam-based agency, said in comments to Rome's Il Messaggero newspaper on Tuesday that it is becoming more and more difficult to affirm that there isn't a cause-and-effect relationship between AstraZeneca vaccines and the very rare cases of blood clots associated with a low level of platelets.

But Cavaleri acknowledged the agency hadn't yet figured out how exactly the vaccine might be causing these rare side effects. The agency said its evaluation has not yet reached a conclusion and the review is currently ongoing.


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