UK records 30 cases of blood clots after AstraZeneca jab, adds Kenyan to backlist countries
London, April 2, 2021 (AltAfrica)-The U.K. has recorded 30 cases of rare blood clots after the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, the country’s drug regulator announced on Thursday evening but insisted that the benefits of the vaccine still outweigh any possible risks.
In its weekly summary, U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it had received 22 reports of rare brain blood clots and 8 reports of other blood clotting events out of a total of 18.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered as of March 24.
The agency also said it had not received any reports of clotting events following the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which has also been rolled out on a large scale in the country.
But the regulator concluded that the overall safety of both vaccines have so far been as expected and the benefits of both vaccines in preventing Covid-19 “far outweigh any known side effects.”
35.6 million. That’s the total number of vaccine doses that the U.K. has administered so far with about 60% of its adult population receiving at least one dose according to the U.K. government’s tracker.
While this makes it one of the widest rollouts of the vaccine anywhere in the world, it comes with a major caveat as the country has been prioritizing first doses and only 8% of its adult population has been fully inoculated.
Despite clotting incidents being rare, the new U.K. data is likely to raise concerns about the growing links between the AstraZeneca shot and the rare type of blood clotting event.
Reports of similar events have led to France, Germany, Canada, Sweden and Finland recommending that younger people (mostly below the age of 60) avoid the shot as they are much more likely to be affected by the condition.
In Norway and Denmark, the AstraZeneca shot remains suspended. Last month, following an extensive review the European Medicines Agency (EMA) concluded the vaccine was safe and effective and ruled out a broad link to blood clotting. But the investigation was not able to conclusively rule out a link between some extremely rare types of clotting.
Meanwhile, Kenya, Bangladesh Pakistan and the Philippines have been added to England’s coronavirus “red list”.
The move, which will take effect from 4am on Friday, 9 April, is in response to concerns about new variants of COVID-19, like those first detected in South Africa and Brazil.
It means international visitors who have departed from or transited through those nations in the previous 10 days will be barred from entering.
British and Irish citizens and those with residence rights in the UK will be allowed to enter, but will have to arrive at a designated port and then pay to stay in a government-approved quarantine hotel for 10 days.