Regulatory Bodies Continue to Investigate AZ/Oxford Vaccine's Possible Link to Blood Clots


As UK regulatory bodies, along with the World Health Organization (WHO), continue to assess the data concerning a potential link between the AstraZeneca jab and rare blood clots, European regulators are due to report their findings later today.

A trial administering the AstraZeneca (AZ)/Oxford vaccine to children was halted earlier this week as a precaution while investigations are ongoing into a possible rare link to blood clots.

Experts continue to maintain, however, that the benefits of the jab far outweigh the risks and the UK regulator and the EMA say that the vaccine is safe.

As of 24 March, 18.1 million doses of the AZ/Oxford vaccine have been administered in the UK, and of those who received this vaccine, seven have died from unusual blood clots.

Unlike an RNA vaccine used by Moderna and Pfizer's, the AZ/Oxford vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus from chimpanzees. Once administered, it teaches the body's immune system how to fight the real virus.

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said today that concerns are being taken "very seriously" and are being investigated "very thoroughly".

He told the BBC: "It's not so much about looking at the absolute risk, it's weighing up the risk and benefit.

"In the context of a pandemic, you've got to be clear the vaccine is going to reduce the chances of you becoming sick.

"What we urgently need to understand, if this is a causal thing, is whether that risk-benefit ratio stands up when you get down to younger ages."

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), including Emer Cooke, EMA executive director and Dr Sabine Straus, EMA safety committee chairwoman, will hold a briefing later today about the possible link between the AZ/Oxford vaccine and cases of blood clots.