UK Switch to Alternative to AZ Vaccine for People under 40s

Society | May 7, 2021, Friday // 14:13
Bulgaria: UK Switch to Alternative to AZ Vaccine for People under 40s

Most adults under the age of 40 will be given an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine due to a link with rare blood clots.

The UK's medicines safety regulator says there have been 242 clotting cases, with 28.5 million doses of the vaccine administered.

But the risk is slightly higher in younger age groups.

Low levels of coronavirus cases and the availability of alternative vaccines have also informed the decision.

British Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said they were putting "a high priority on safety" and  expected the move would "serve to boost confidence" in the vaccination programme.

"As Covid-19 rates continue to come under control, we are advising that adults aged 18- 39 years with no underlying health conditions are offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, if available, and if it does not cause delays in having the vaccine."

 The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been linked to distinctive, but rare, blood clots that also appear with low levels of platelets (which help clots form) in the blood.

The risk of a clot is roughly one in 100,000 for people in their 40s, but rises to one in 60,000 for people in their 30s.

At the same time, the risks of developing severe Covid if you catch the virus, fall with age.

So far the vaccination programme in UK has also been unexpectedly successful in reducing the spread of the virus. This has changed projections for a "third wave" later in the year meaning the risk to younger adults is less than previously anticipated.

Most clots were after the first dose and people who have already had one dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca are advised to still have the second.

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