The embattled AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine came under further pressure on Wednesday, as the European Union’s medicines regulator found a possible link between the shot and rare cases of blood clots, while the United Kingdom announced it would offer young people an alternative jab due to such risks.
The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) widely anticipated verdict on Wednesday followed a review of dozens of reports of an extremely rare clot in the brain, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), among recipients of the jab.
In a separate development on Wednesday, the UK government’s vaccine advisory group recommended that people aged between 18 and 29 be offered an alternative vaccine to the AstraZeneca shot where available.
The move came after the UK’s independent Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency concluded its own review into possible links between the vaccine and reported blood clots.
Under-30s in the UK are to be offered an alternative Covid vaccine to the AstraZeneca jab due to the evidence linking it to rare blood clots.
The recommendation comes after a review by by drugs regulator MHRA found by the end of March 79 people in the UK had suffered rare blood clots after vaccination – 19 of whom had died.
The regulator said this was not proof the jab had caused the clots.
But it said the link was getting firmer.
The review found:
* The 79 cases and 19 deaths occurred after 20 million doses were administered – giving a risk of about four in one million
* Nearly two-thirds of the cases of rare clots were seen in women
* The people who died were aged between 18 and 79, with three of them aged under 30
* All the recorded cases occurred after the first dose, although the lower number of second doses meant it was not possible to draw any conclusions from this