The British health secretary has allayed fears that the UK’s vaccination programme will slow down, claiming there is ample supply of alternative vaccines after the AstraZeneca jab was canned for under-30s amid blot clot concerns.
Speaking on Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the 1.6 million Britons under the age of 30 who have already had their first jab of AstraZeneca should still get their second shot. The comment came despite the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) decision on Wednesday to offer those aged 18-29 an alternative to the Anglo-Swedish jab.
“Anybody who’s had the jab should continue with the second jab because there’s no evidence of this affect after a second jab and we have more than enough Pfizer and Moderna vaccine to cover all of the remaining 8.5 million people aged between 18-29 if necessary,” Hancock stated.
The health secretary said the speed of the vaccination programme would not be affected by Wednesday’s decision and that Britons should be reassured by the caution taken by the UK government. Hancock added that the blood clotting events were extremely rare at four in a million doses administered.
A total of 19 people have died from blood clots in the UK up to March 31, all of whom had received their first dose, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said, but it stressed that this did not prove the vaccine had caused the clots.
The blood clot risk for younger people is slightly higher, with 51 women and 28 men in the UK aged 18 to 79 affected by the condition after vaccination.Britain’s vaccination programme has slowed down over the last week amid supply challenges, however, more than 60% of the adult population have already received at least one shot.