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UK: benefits outweigh risks for AstraZeneca despite 7 deaths




Although the agency said Friday evening that seven people had died from the development of blood clots, it did not release any information about their age or medical condition.

In total, MHRA said it had identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events out of 18.1 million doses of AstraZeneca administered up to and including March 24. The risk associated with this type of blood clot is very low, he added.

The benefits of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in preventing COVID-19 infection and its complications continue to outweigh any risks and the public should continue to be vaccinated when instructed to do so, said Dr June Raine, executive director of the agency.

Concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine have already prompted some countries, including Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands, to limit its use to the elderly.

The UK, which has rolled out coronavirus vaccines faster than other European countries, is particularly dependent on the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed by scientists at the University of Oxford. It also uses the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, whose agency has not seen any reported blood clot events.

Figures on Saturday showed the UK gave a first dose of the vaccine to 31.4 million people, or around 46% of its population, a much higher rate than the rest of Europe. The distribution of second doses is the priority for April, with 5.2 million people having now received two injections.

The relative success of the country’s vaccination program has been credited with helping to drastically reduce new coronavirus infections in the UK after a winter surge, paving the way for a slight easing of restrictions on lockdowns on gatherings.

The UK recorded 3,423 other infections on Saturday, up slightly from the six-month low of previous days at 3,402. It also recorded just 10 coronavirus-related deaths, its lowest daily total since early September.

Despite the improving coronavirus backdrop, the UK has recorded the highest number of COVID-related deaths in Europe, with more than 126,500 deaths.

In France, which has limited the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 55, the family of a 38-year-old woman who died after suffering from post-vaccine blood clots in the brain filed a criminal complaint in Toulouse on Saturday. requesting an investigation for manslaughter. .

She is one of four people who died in France after suffering from blood clots in the weeks following an AstraZeneca vaccine injection. France’s national medical safety agency said it was investigating these and eight other cases of severe blood clotting in people who survived.

The MHRA’s view on the relative benefits of the vaccine is shared by the European Medicines Agency. He said that a causal link between unusual blood clots in people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine is not proven, but it is possible, and that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks of Side effects. The World Health Organization has also urged countries to continue using the jab.

Adam Finn, professor of pediatrics at the University of Bristol, said the extreme rarity of blood clotting events against the backdrop of the millions of injections given in the UK makes the decision very simple.

Receiving the vaccine is by far the safest choice in terms of minimizing an individual’s risk of serious illness or death, he said.

Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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