PLANE TRUTH AstraZeneca jab’s blood clot risk is SAME as taking long-haul flight as Brits urged to get vaccine
THE risk of getting a blood clot from an AstraZeneca jab is the same as taking a long-haul flight, the Health Secretary said today.
Brits have been urged to carry on getting their vaccines, despite the very small risk of developing a rare clot.
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It comes after the UK's medicines regulator – MHRA – recommended Brits under 30 are offered an alternative jab, such as Pfizer or Moderna's.
This morning Matt Hancock insisted the benefits of the jab outweigh the risks, with some under-30's suffering badly from long Covid.
He told BBC Breakfast: "The safety system that we have around this vaccine is so sensitive that it can pick up events that are four in a million – I'm told this is about the equivalent risk of taking a long-haul flight.
It comes as:
- Solicitor, 59, died of blood clot 3 weeks after taking AstraZeneca vaccine
- Britain ‘will achieve herd immunity next week’ as vaccine rollout and Covid antibodies see cases plunge
- UK has enough Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to cover ALL under-30s, says Matt Hancock
- Covid infections plummeted in March despite schools re-opening and lockdown easing
There were just 79 cases and 19 deaths after 20million doses were given, a review by MHRA found. Three of the deaths were people under 30.
It means the risk of dying from the jab is 0.000095 per cent.
Mr Hancock added: "The vaccines are safe, and if you want to have the Pfizer vaccine or Moderna vaccine instead then that is fine.
"Covid is a horrible disease and long Covid affects people in their 20s just as much it seems as any other age group and can have debilitating side effects that essentially ruin your life."
Brits were reassured that the chance of blood clots from the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab were “vanishingly rare” yesterday.
The measured words from England’s deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam came as other experts agreed the risk of serious side-effects remained minuscule.
The possibility of getting a blood clot from the shot is tiny – and is, in fact, less than you would expect in the normal course of events.
But if you avoid the jab and then catch Covid, you are two per cent more likely to develop a clot.
Blood clots happen for a wide range of reasons, with around 3,000 people a month in the UK suffering them.
Being hospitalised for any reason increases risk tenfold, while 60 per cent of major orthopaedic surgery patients suffer a clot.
Two in every 1,000 women are likely to develop one during or after pregnancy.
And around three to five per cent of people travelling by plane run the risk of suffering with a clot.
Prof Anthony Harnden, the deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said of the clots: "These are extremely rare events – much, much more rare than, for instance, clots due to common drugs that we prescribe such as the contraceptive pill; much rarer than clots during pregnancy; much, much rarer than clots due to Covid itself."
He told BBC Breakfast: "We still feel this is a safe and effective vaccine where the benefits far outweigh the risks for the majority of people.
"In many ways, it's better to know the known than the unknown, so I would encourage anybody who's been offered either their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and certainly their second dose, when there's been no cases for second doses, to receive it when offered."
He said "the vaccination programme is going full steam ahead" and "everybody should remain confident in it".
Nearly 32million Britons have now had a Covid jab — by far the highest rate in Europe.
Visiting a holiday park in Perranporth, Cornwall, PM Boris Johnson yesterday assured the nation the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was still “safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives”.
Professor Van-Tam stressed the minuscule chance of clots, adding: “You can’t pick these kinds of things up until you have literally deployed tens of millions of doses.”
He said the under-30s move was a simple “course correction”.
Yesterday the European Medicines Agency (EMA) also issued fresh guidance — saying clots should be listed as a “very rare” side effect of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.
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EMA chief Emer Cooke said: “We looked at this in a lot of detail and the evidence does not allow us to draw any link between gender or age group.
“I cannot comment on the UK’s decision to restrict this vaccine among a certain age group, and do not know what it is based on.”
She added: “Every day Covid is causing thousands of deaths across Europe. This vaccine has proven to be highly effective and is saving lives."
MHRA's Dr June Raine says there's a plausible link between AstraZeneca Covid vaccine and blood clots but more research needed for firm proof