JCVI member calls for continued use of AstraZeneca jab despite 'rare' side effects

7 April 2021, 17:00

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

JCVI member Professor Robert Reed says the AstraZeneca vaccine should continue to be used despite 'extremely rare' side effects.

After the UK medicines regulator said the benefits of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine continue to outweigh any risks but added that under-30s will be offered an alternative jab, Eddie Mair spoke to an expert.

Professor Robert Read, a member of the Joint Committee for Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI) said "overall" the benefits outweigh the risk.

LIVE: 'Course correction' over extremely rare blood clot link to AstraZeneca jab

Some European countries have restricted the vaccine's use in younger people following reports of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a specific type of clot that prevents blood from draining from the brain, as well as low platelet counts - cells that help blood clot.

The Professor told LBC he agrees with the European Medicines Agency.

Earlier on Wednesday, the European medicines watchdog ruled that unusual blood clots were "very rare side effects" of the jab.

Professor Read said he could not emphasise enough "just how rare" the blood clots were.

"Most people who get the AstraZeneca vaccine have no side effects."

Earlier today the former head of the MHRA told LBC that he has "no reservations" about the jab's safety.

Dr June Raine, head of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, told a press conference: "Based on the current evidence, the benefits of the Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca against Covid-19 and its associated risks - hospitalisation and death - continues to outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people.

"Our review has reinforced that the risk of this rare suspected side effect remains extremely small."

The MHRA said there were still huge benefits of the vaccine in preventing Covid-19 and serious disease but added that due to a very small number of blood clots in younger people, those under the age of 30 will be offered Pfizer or Moderna jabs instead.