Saturday 8 May 2021 11:35 am

EU looking into reports of rare nerve disorder after Astrazeneca vaccine

The EU’s medicines regulator is investigating reports of a rare nerve-degenerating disorder in people who have received Astrazeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, it announced this afternoon.

The watchdog has requested more detailed data on the cases from the company.

As part of a regular review of safety reports for the vaccine, Vaxzevria, the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) safety committee is analysing data provided on cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome in people who have had the Astrazeneca jab.

The EMA is also looking into reports of heart inflammation with Pfizer-Biontech’s vaccine, called Comirnaty, and Moderna’s shot, Reuters reported.

Both the vaccines use new mRNA technology to build immunity against the coronavirus.

It comes after the EMA last month said it had found a “possible link” between the Astrazeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, but ruled that the benefits of receiving the vaccine outweighed potential risks.

Surprise extension

Unlike the UK’s medicines regulator, the EMA refused to prohibit use of the Astrazeneca jab among younger demographics.

In a surprise extension of Britain’s guidance on the drug, the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) this morning recommended that all under-40s in the UK seek an alternative to the Astrazeneca vaccine.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, member of the JCVI’s Covid subcommittee, said: “Safety remains our number one priority. 

“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.”