As we reported on Tuesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is reviewing the safety of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine after some countries have halted its use due to concerns over blood clots.
WHO vaccine experts met on Tuesday to review the jab, after several European countries paused the rollout of the vaccination due to reports of blood clots after it was administered.
However, the numbers are below those that would be expected in the general population, and both the WHO and the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency have said the jab is safe to use.
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A number of UK leaders have said that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe to use and have urged people to continue to attend vaccination appointments and receive the jab.
And Dr David Wrigley, British Medical Association council deputy chair and a GP at Ash Trees Surgery in Carnforth, said: “The vaccination programme here in Lancashire and across the UK has so far been incredibly successful with 25 million vaccinations given so far, including more than 11 million doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca.
“The continued success of the programme is key in protecting the health of the public and making sure that we can return to something that resembles ‘normal’ as soon as possible.
“The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency are still advising that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is safe for use.
“It is crucial that we retain perspective and recognise the lives that have and will continue to be saved as a result of the vaccination programme and we should be continuing to encourage people to get both first and second doses of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer jab.”
The Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, France, Italy and Spain are among some of the countries that have stopped administering the jab.
Joao Vale de Almeida, EU ambassador to the UK, said it was not an EU decision to suspend the rollout of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, but the decision of individual governments.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has also reiterated that the number of vaccinated people with blood clots is no higher than the general population.
The EMA committee will further review the information ahead of a meeting on Thursday in order to consider any further action that may be needed.