UK coronavirus LIVE: Prof Van Tam calls Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine halt for 18 to 29-year-olds a ‘course change’ for ‘enormously successful’ vaccination programme as EU regulator rules blood clots are ‘possible rare side effect’ of jab

April Roach
·1-min read
<p>Stations are set up where care workers give out injections of the Pfizer jab at Cwmbran Stadium, south Wales</p> (PA)

Stations are set up where care workers give out injections of the Pfizer jab at Cwmbran Stadium, south Wales

(PA)

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has said under 30s will now be offered Pfizer or Moderna vaccine instead of Astrazeneca due to extremely rare blood clots linked to the vaccine - but the huge benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19 and serious disease mean it will still be given to older age groups.

England's deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said it was a "course correction" in the vaccination programme, saying it was "quite normal" for medics to alter their preferences on how to treat patients.

At a separate briefing the European Medicines Agency (EMA) says it has found a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and blood clots but said that the benefits of the shot still outweigh risks.

The UK and EU regulators both gave press conferences this afternoon on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in relation to rare cases of blood clots in people who had had the jab.

Trials of the AstraZeneca jab on children in the UK were paused yesterday and ministers this morning were appealing to the public continue to take up the vaccine when offered.

The MHRA briefing was led by Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Dr June Raine, Chief Executive of the MHRA, Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Chair of the Committee of Human Medicines, and Professor Wei Shen, chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

It comes as Elle Taylor, who works at a further education college in Llanelli, received the first Moderna jab dose in the UK from staff nurse Laura French at West Wales General Hospital’s outpatients department.

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