Coronavirus National & International Student Corner

Under 30s ‘should be offered alternative’ to AstraZeneca vaccine

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The UK has more than enough supply of the Pfizer and Moderna jabs to vaccinate all adults under 30, the health secretary has said, according to the BBC.

UK vaccine advisers say people aged 18 to 29 should be offered a different vaccine due to evidence linking AstraZeneca jabs to blood clots.

Matt Hancock said the UK is on track to vaccinate all adults by 31 July.

He said the AstraZeneca jab remained safe and urged those who had received one dose to take up their second.

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there was no proof the vaccine had caused the clots but the link was getting firmer, while the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have said the benefits of the jab outweighed the risks.

Mr Hancock said there was “no evidence” of rare blood clots after the second dose of the vaccine.

He also urged everyone to take up the offer of a first vaccine when they were called.

The health secretary sought to reassure the public and said they can have confidence in the safety system because regulators were “able to spot this extremely rare event”.

“The safety system that we have around this vaccine is so sensitive that it can pick up events that are four in a million [the chance of developing a rare brain blood clot] – I’m told this is about the equivalent risk of taking a long-haul flight,” he told BBC Breakfast.

There is “more than enough of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine” for the 8.5 million adults under 30 who are yet to be vaccinated in the UK to have two doses, he said.

The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 17 million of the Moderna jab and also has agreements with several other companies for jabs that are still waiting for approval, including 100 million doses from Valneva and 30 million from Janssen.

Mr Hancock said Covid was a “horrible disease” and long Covid affected people in their 20s “just a much” as any other age group, sometimes with “debilitating side effects that essentially ruin your life”.

He said he was looking forward to getting vaccinated “as a healthy 42 year old” and said when the time comes “I will take whatever vaccine I am offered”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also urged people to have the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying he had received the jab himself and would have the second dose.

“I think the most important thing is that we get the vaccine programme rolled out as quickly as possible – that is the surest way through this pandemic,” he said.

As of Tuesday more than 31.7 million people have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine in the UK, with some 5.6 million having received a second shot.


Image supplied by PA Media

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