Tuesday 6 April 2021 7:28 am

UK medicines regulator 'may restrict Astrazeneca vaccine for younger people'

The UK’s medicines regulator is considering a proposal to restrict the use of the Astrazeneca vaccine in younger people over concerns about extremely rare blood clots, according to reports.

“Two senior sources have told this programme that while the data is still unclear there are growing arguments to justify offering younger people — below the age of 30 at the very least — a different vaccine,” Channel 4 News reported yesterday.

Read more: UK reports seven blood clot deaths after Astrazeneca vaccine

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said last week that the benefits of the vaccine in the prevention of Covid-19 far outweigh any possible risk of blood clots.

The medicines watchdog said on Saturday it received reports of 30 unusual blood clotting events among patients who have received the Astrazeneca jab, of which seven have died.

Dr June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, said: “The benefits… in preventing Covid-19 infection and its complications continue to outweigh any risks and the public should continue to get their vaccine when invited to do so.”

Raine insisted last night that no decision had been made regarding the Astrazeneca jab, as she urged people to continue to get vaccinated.

“Our thorough and detailed review is ongoing into reports of very rare and specific types of blood clots with low platelets following the Covid-19 vaccine Astrazeneca,” she said. “No decision has yet been made on any regulatory action.”

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is set to rule tomorrow on whether countries should carry on using the vaccine as part of its immunisation programme.

Read more: EU seeks 10m Astrazeneca vaccines from India to plug jab shortfall

In the last month, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands have paused the vaccine’s rollout while the EMA investigates reports of 30 blood clots among more than 18.1m doses of the jab administered across Europe as of 24 March.

The EMA has said that there is currently “no evidence” to support restricting the use of the vaccine in any population, noting that a link with clotting was “not proven, but possible”.