The UK government's joint committee on vaccination recommended on Wednesday that people under 30 be offered an alternative to AstraZeneca amid concerns that the anti-coronavirus vaccine may cause rare blood clots in younger people.
"Adults who are aged 18 to 29 years old, who do not have an underlying health condition that puts them at higher risk from serious COVID-19 disease, should be offered an alternative COVID-19 vaccine in preference to the AstraZeneca vaccine where such an alternative vaccine is available," Wei Shen Lim, the committee's chair, said.
Those who have had their first dose of AstraZeneca should still have the second dose of the UK-Swedish drug according to the vaccination schedule, he added.
The UK's deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, in turn, said that the decision to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine among young people would barely affect the country's overall immunization program, noting that there are two other vaccines authorised by the national regulator.
"I am assured that actually, because of our supply situation in relation to alternative vaccines, the effect on the timing of our overall program should be zero or negligible. That, of course, is contingent upon getting the supplies that we expect to get of the alternative vaccines, which are the Pfizer vaccine currently in use and the Moderna vaccine that we hope to bring into deployment from mid-April in England," Van-Tam said.
Earlier in the day, a safety committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended listing blood clot events as a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The EU regulator still insists that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks posed, noting it has proven to be highly effective and is "saving lives." EMA stressed that it was important to keep using all available vaccines. (/Sputnik)
( With inputs from ANI )
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