Dominic Raab: 'Crystal clear' AstraZeneca jab is safe despite blood clot concerns

16 March 2021, 08:43 | Updated: 16 March 2021, 09:04

Foreign Secretary: It is 'crystal clear' the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is safe

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has told LBC it is “crystal clear” the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine is safe despite multiple European countries pausing its use due to blood clotting concerns.

Germany, France, Spain and Italy have paused injections of the vaccine amid concerns about blood clots in people who have had the shot.

The Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Iceland and Thailand have already temporarily suspended their use of the jab.

READ MORE: UK leaders and medical experts defend AstraZeneca jab as more EU countries pause use

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Mr Raab told Nick Ferrari: “Every country will have a regulatory approach that will want to check any issues that arise either through trials, as we’ve done with allergic reactions, right the way through to the roll out.

“But what is crystal clear from the evidence that we’ve got, and obviously we’ve had a substantial rollout, and our own regulator [has said] that there is no risk from this vaccine."

Mr Raab insisted “people should take the vaccine because it is saving lives" adding that this "is backed up by the EU regulator which says there’s no evidence that would justify suspending the rollout... and it’s backed up by the World Health Organisation".

“We respect other countries going through their processes but the message is crystal clear, this vaccine is safe and people should take it,” he said.

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The European Union's medical regulator has insisted the jab's benefits outweigh the risks of side effects.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said "many thousands of people" develop blood clots every year in the EU and "the number of thromboembolic events overall in vaccinated people seems not to be higher than that seen in the general population".

The EMA's safety committee is reviewing the data and working closely with the company, experts in blood disorders, and authorities including the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The committee will further review the information on Tuesday ahead of an extraordinary meeting on Thursday to consider any further action that may be needed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said there was "no reason at all" to stop the vaccine's rollout, adding the MRHA is "one of toughest and most experienced regulators in the world".

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"They see no reason at all to discontinue the vaccination programme... for either of the vaccines that we're currently using," he said.

The World Health Organisation has said there is no evidence of a link between blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine.

WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier confirmed an investigation is under way.

"As soon as WHO has gained a full understanding of these events, the findings and any unlikely changes to current recommendations will be immediately communicated to the public," he said.

"As of today, there is no evidence that the incidents are caused by the vaccine and it is important that vaccination campaigns continue so that we can save lives and stem severe disease from the virus."