Local GPs try to reassure patients about safety of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

Some European countries have stopped using the vaccine.
Photo of Covid vaccine vial

Local GPs have shared information about the safety of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine after several European countries temporarily banned it.

In a message posted on their Facebook pages on 15 March, Tilehurst Village Surgery and Chancellor House Surgery said: ‘A lot of people will have read in the media regarding the claim that there might be a link with the Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccination causing blood clots. This has resulted in a number of European countries suspending the roll out of the vaccine.

Please be reassured that Astra Zeneca have undertaken a careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union (EU) and UK with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. There has been no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country.

So far across the EU and UK, there have been 15 events of DVT and 22 events of pulmonary embolism reported among those given the vaccine, based on the number of cases the Company has received as of 8 March. This is much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed COVID-19 vaccines.’

Can I choose which vaccine I get?

No: patients cannot express a preference because vaccine hubs do not get a say on which one which will be delivered to them. You could decline to get vaccinated once you know which one you're being offered on the day, but there is no guarantee that a different vaccine will be available if you re-booked for a different date. It is recommended that people get the same vaccine for their second dose as they got for their first.

The EU's drug safety body is meeting soon to consider safety reports.

What does the UK's drug safety body say?

The MHRA said in a statement on 15 March that people should still go and get their vaccine.
“We are closely reviewing reports but the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause. Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon. More than 11 million doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca have now been administered across the UK, and the number of blood clots reported after having the vaccine is not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population,” said Dr Phil Bryan, the MHRA's vaccines safety lead.

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