Choice of Covid vaccines to be offered to Britons under 40

·2-min read
Woman receives vaccine (PA Wire)
Woman receives vaccine (PA Wire)

People under 30 and up to the age of 40 will be offered a choice of Covid vaccines, it has emerged.

A recommendation by The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) suggested people should be allowed to opt-out of receiving the AstraZeneca jab following a number of rare blood clot cases.

They advised that people instead should be offered a Pfizer or Modernavaccine out of "an abundance of caution", The Telegraph reported.

A spokeswoman said on Thursday that the position of the JCVI and medicines regulator Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) "continues to be that the benefits of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks for the vast majority of adults".

"The JCVI keep their recommendations under review in line with the latest scientific advice", the spokeswoman said in a statement, adding that Britain is still on track to offer a vaccine to all adults by the end of July.

In April, the JCVI advised alternatives to AstraZeneca’s vaccine for those under-30.

Previously, the MHRA has said the balance of risk for the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid is very favourable for older people but “more finely balanced” for younger groups, who do not tend to suffer serious coronavirus illness.

It comes as the regulator said on Thursday that there was some evidence that rare blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine occurred more in women than in men.

"There is now some evidence that the reported incidence rate is higher in females compared to men although this is not seen across all age groups and the difference remains small," said the MHRA.

In the newest weekly figures, the MHRA said that the case incidence of the rare clots and low platelet levels was 10.5 per million doses, compared to 9.3 per million last week.

Up to April 28, the MHRA had received 242 reports of blood clots accompanied by low blood platelet count in the UK, all in people who had AstraZeneca, out of around 28.5 million doses given.

These clots occurred in 141 women and 100 men aged from 18 to 93, and the overall case death rate was 20 per cent, with 49 deaths.

Six cases have been reported after a second dose of the vaccine.

A particular type of brain blood clot - cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) - was reported in 93 cases (with an average age of 47), and 149 had other major thromboembolic events (average age 55) accompanied by low blood platelet count.

The MHRA and JCVI have both said that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine continue to “outweigh the risks for the vast majority of adults”.

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